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Health Care Reform Bill Passes the House

by Brenda Peluso

From our friends at the Michigan Nonprofit Association

Yesterday, U.S. House Democratic leaders introduced a comprehensive health care reform bill, Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR3962) that would extend health coverage to 96 percent of all Americans once it is fully implemented. Among its key components, the legislation would create a health insurance exchange through which individuals and many nonprofit and other employers could purchase health coverage, provide a government-run public insurance option, and impose individual and employer mandates.

It would expand Medicaid to cover everyone making less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, provide subsidies for individuals, and tax credits to subsidize health insurance costs by for-profit employers with 25 or fewer employees. The small business credit was not revised to provide support for nonprofit organizations, despite a strong lobbying effort, but tax staffers report that the House is “positively predisposed” to address the issue in a House-Senate conference.

The legislation, which is estimated to cost $894 billion over 10 years, is paid for through reforms within the health care system and through a 5.4% surtax on households earning more than $1 million in adjusted gross income. The House took up the nearly 2,000-page measure and it passed almost entirely on party lines.

Maine Specifics

Representatives Michaud and Pingree both signed a dear colleague letter urging the House Leadership to include a provision for nonprofit employers in the final bill.  Senator Snowe was key in insuring the Senate Finance Committee’s version of the bill included such provisions.

For more information about the different versions of health care reform, Independent Sector has produced a grid summarizing the major aspects of each of the four current proposals.

We urge you to make your voice heard in this debate by contacting your representatives or senators on the health care issues of most concern to your organization. Give us a call if you are concerned about your legal rights to raise your voice or visit our website for more information on Nonprofit advocacy rights.

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