AARP, AMA give House healthcare bill an 11th-hour boost
The AARP and AMA endorsed the House healthcare bill Thursday. But there are caveats, and some Democrats remain concerned about cost and abortion provisions.
Just 48 hours before a historic healthcare vote, Senate Democrats racked up big endorsements – and needed momentum – from the doctors and the nation’s leading seniors’ lobby.Skip to next paragraph
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“We are closer to passing this reform than ever before,” said President Obama, after the announcements. “And now that the doctors and medical professionals of America are standing with us; now that the organizations charged with looking out for the interests of seniors are standing with us, we are even closer.”
The AARP board of directors committed the clout of its nearly 40 million-member lobby to the 11th hour fight, including an ad campaign and mobilization of some 5 million activists.
But support of the American Medical Association, announced minutes later, came with a price: that the House also commit to passing a 10-year “fix” to roll back mandated cuts in payments to physicians who serve Medicare patients.
“A successful foundation for health system reform is dependent on House passage of both bills,” said AMA CEO Michael Maves in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, released today. The Speaker’s office confirms that the House will vote by Thanksgiving on a permanent “fix” to the cost-saving growth formula first proposed in 1997.
In a move the troubles fiscally conservative Democrats, the cost of the bill – estimated to be $210 billion over 10 years – is not expected to be offset, a violation of House "pay-go" rules that require all new spending to be fully funded.