Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The White House's Health Care Proposal

As some of you may have seen, President Obama released his health care reform proposal yesterday. The 11-page document is an executive summary of ideas, some from existing legislation, and some entirely new ones that will fuel Thursday’s much-publicized (and public) “Bipartisan Meeting.”

It’s important to note that the President’s proposal is not in “legislative language,” which means while there are broad ideas for what the bill should do, there’s no explanation of how it will be accomplished. There are no details in the summary, including how part-time and seasonal workers will be treated under the president’s plan, which is the part of the legislation that will most impact the attractions industry. When the legislative language is released, we will know more and can take action on the proposal.

As for the process, the Senate no longer has its filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 votes, so there has been talk in Washington of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid using the budget reconciliation process to pass the final incarnation of the health care bill. Special rules in the Senate allow for “reconciliation” bills to be passed with only 51 votes—a much easier hurdle for Senator Reid to clear. House bills only need a simple majority to pass and if Speaker Pelosi can hold her caucus together (which may not be easy), she can attain this number.

Curious IAAPA members should read through the president’s proposal—since it’s a summary, it’s a quick but interesting read—and if they can, tune in for the meeting on Thursday (it will also be shown live on C-SPAN 3 beginning at 10 a.m. EST). After we’ve gotten more details about the treatment of part-time and seasonal workers, we’ll contact our U.S. members about action they can take.

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