Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Liberals, Doctors: No Reform Deal

“The devil is in the details, and we haven’t seen any details yet,” PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson said.

The drug companies, which agreed to $80 billion in concessions over 10 years, have generally been supportive of health care reform efforts. Johnson also said the drug companies “have supported initiatives to expand access to coverage.”

The pharmaceutical industry has focused its opposition mostly on efforts to allow importation of drugs from other countries — which proponents say would bring down costs but which Johnson said would lead to unsafe drugs on the market.

The health insurance industry, led by its trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, has been highly critical of the legislation, including the public option.

AHIP has been equally critical of the Medicare buy-in but has not taken a position on allowing people to enroll in nonprofit plans overseen by the federal government.

Despite the critical reception that the proposed compromise has received from many of these groups, lobbyists did not say whether they would work to defeat legislation if the plan was ultimately accepted by the Senate.

Robert Blendon, a health policy expert at Harvard University, said the doctor and hospital groups may grow more receptive to the Medicare buy-in if the Senate improves the reimbursement rates for the government-run seniors’ health insurance program.

“They are very concerned about the payment issue,” he said.

On the other hand, Blendon said the progressive groups, such as MoveOn, are more likely to continue to oppose the compromise because they are ideologically committed to having a public option in the overall plan.

“The liberal organizations will keep pounding away,” he said.

By the same token, he said conservative groups, which have opposed the health care plan from the outset, are not likely to be pacified by having the public option removed.

A number of conservative groups are sponsoring a rally against the health plan at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Furthermore, a business coalition that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation, said it was releasing two new ads opposing the Senate health care bill. The ads will air on national cable and in nine states represented by moderate Democrats, including Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Nebraska and Virginia.

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