Thursday, December 03, 2009

Good News Thursday

The Mikulski amendment passed in the Senate:

By a vote of 61-39, the Senate passed the Mikulski Amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act today. The Mikulsi Amendment, submitted by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), requires all health plans to cover comprehensive women's preventive care and related screenings, at no additional charge to women.

This means that certain preventive services would be included in the basic list, available at limited or no co-pay. (I'm leaving it this unclear because I haven't double-checked the list yet.)

The vote went pretty much by party lines, though two Democrats joined with the Republicans in voting nay. The surprising one was Russ Feingold. He explained his opposition like this:

Mr. Feingold, in a statement, said he voted against Ms. Mikulski's proposal because of the projected cost of $940 million over 10 years.

"I am disappointed that the Senate health care debate has gotten off on the wrong foot," he said. "The first amendment voted on would add almost a billion dollars to our budget deficits over the next 10 years. We should make sure health plans cover women's preventive care and screenings, but we should also find a way to pay for it, rather than adding that cost to the already mountainous public debt."

Note how leaving these services out from the initial proposal can then make them into the bugbear that will bankrupt us. It would be interesting to see what other services we could have treated in this manner.