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Congress seems to be inching ever nearer to settlement on a long-delayed COVID-19 aid invoice, which might prolong unemployment insurance coverage and different emergency packages set to run out within the subsequent a number of days. That invoice, nevertheless, apparently won’t embody the top-priority gadgets for each political events: enterprise legal responsibility protections supported by Republicans and support to states and localities sought by Democrats.
The invoice is more likely to be a part of a large spending invoice to maintain the federal authorities funded for the remainder of the fiscal 12 months. And it would embody a last-minute shock: laws to place an finish to “shock” medical payments despatched to sufferers who inadvertently get hold of care exterior their insurance coverage community.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Well being Information, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Name and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN.
Among the many takeaways from this week’s podcast:
- Congress has basically agreed on a federal spending invoice for the remainder of the fiscal 12 months — which started in October. However it’s going to doubtless wait as lawmakers proceed squabbling over the COVID aid bundle, with negotiations now centering on small particulars.
- Republicans for months have been hesitant to maneuver ahead on a invoice that would offer extra aid for customers affected by the pandemic as a result of social gathering leaders didn’t like Democrats’ insistence that it embody extra state and native support. However that provision has been jettisoned, so Republicans are much less against the measure. Plus, they see a political draw back to holding up the invoice: Their two Georgia candidates for Senate — going through Democratic opponents in a particular runoff election — are being hammered on the difficulty.
- The compromise on shock medical payments got here after supporters secured settlement amongst Democrats who had favored various cures and all of the committees within the Home and Senate on the invoice, a consensus that was cast with main concessions by progressives.
- However medical doctors’ teams and different trade critics are nonetheless attacking the shock billing proposal — although many observers see the invoice as tilted of their favor over insurers — so its passage is just not assured. Supporters are banking on the looming finish of the congressional session to maneuver the measure over the end line.
- Vice President Mike Pence introduced he’ll get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 in public this week in hopes of convincing anybody skeptical in regards to the pictures that they’re secure. President-elect Joe Biden is planning on doing the identical quickly. However this can be a tough stance for politicians. They don’t need to look as if they’re pushing themselves forward in line, however in addition they need to normalize the usage of the vaccine.
- About 200 state and native public well being leaders have stop or been fired due to public opposition to measures to curb the coronavirus. Though President Donald Trump has reined in his criticism of a few of these officers and their efforts, the opposition continues to be sturdy. These critics could also be buttressed by fears that new restrictions imposed to manage the surging virus will damage the economic system.
Additionally this week, Rovner interviews Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Pacific Enterprise Group on Well being, about the way forward for employer-provided medical health insurance.
Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose you need to learn too:
Julie Rovner: The Texas Month-to-month’s “Texas Wedding Photographers Have Seen Some $#!+,” by Emily McCullar
Alice Miranda Ollstein: The New York Instances’ “‘Like a Hand Grasping’: Trump Appointees Describe the Crushing of the C.D.C.,” by Noah Weiland
Mary Agnes Carey: NPR’s “How Do We Grieve 300,000 Lives Lost?” by Will Stone
Rebecca Adams: Bloomberg Information’ “White House Official Recovers From Severe Covid-19, Friend Says,” by Jennifer Jacobs
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