The Senate Finance Committee has rejected an amendment that would have removed a $6.7 billion annual fee on health insurers that is included in a health reform bill the panel is considering.
Continuing its lengthy deliberations on the reform bill, the Senate committee voted 13-10 on Wednesday, September 30, against the amendment by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to remove the annual fee that he said ultimately would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums.
Income from the fee is intended to help fund health insurance premium subsidies that would be provided to the low-income uninsured.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he plans to trim the Senate’s traditional weeklong Columbus Day recess to two days to enable the full Senate to consider health care reform legislation in mid-October.
It isn’t clear yet, though, when the Finance Committee will complete action and when Senate Democratic leaders will meld that panel’s measure with a bill already approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to put one bill before the full Senate.