Having lost the critical 60th vote in the Senate, Democrats and the White House are suggesting that a smaller, scaled down version of health care reform may be the answer. But the politicians in Washington are not the only parties who were stunned by the election of Scott Brown to the Senate seat which formerly belonged to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Pro-reform groups such as doctors, hospitals and drug companies are trying evaluate the effect of the Massachusetts election on their own businesses. So far, however, no public comment has been forthcoming.
What happens to promised contributions from hospitals?
In July the White House announced a deal with 3 major hospital associations to get a contribution of around $155 billion from the hospitals to support health care reform. The associations were the
- American Hospital Association,
- the Federation of American Hospitals and
- the Catholic Health Association
Some of this contribution would come from lower Medicare and Medicaid payments to the hospitals. Lower Medicare and Medicaid payments are still likely in order to save these systems from bankruptcy.
Where are the promised contributions from the pharmaceutical industry?
The $80 billion dollar contribution from the pharmaceutical industry announced in the Fall had all but vanished when the industry began to raise prices to compensate for the announced contribution.
Insurance companies may lose something as well
Throughout the debate on health care reform, the health insurance industry has 2 main goals:
- require every American to buy health insurance and
- eliminate the public option as an alternative to private health insurance
The public option was effectively eliminated from the Senate bill but the prospect of mandatory coverage remained and would have resulted in millions of new customers for the health insurance industry.
Who will ultimately win and who will lose in this debate? Most at risk would seem to be the consumer who still cannot get health insurance at an affordable rate.
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