米連邦議会 医療制度改革法案を最終承認/米国医療事情 オバマ政権

 米連邦議会は日曜日、オバマ大統領の提案に沿って数千万人の無保険者への保険補償を提供する医療制度改革法案を最終承認した。
 下院法案は219対212票で可決され、オバマ大統領に送られた。修正案パッケージを成立させ上院に送付した。上院多数派リーダーのHarry Reid は、上院で修正法案を取り上げ成立させるための票を確保したことを下院民主党に約束した。
 法案により提供される連邦予算では妊娠中絶に使用できないようにするとの民主党内中絶権論者との取引に合意したため、投票のほんの数時間前に下院民主党とホワイトハウスの勝利が決められた。
 「21世紀の公民権運動」と評する民主党員もいる。民主党は、上昇する医療費を抑えながら社会保障とメディケアの新たな仕組みを作り上げて無保険国民にたいし健康保険補償へのアクセスを拡大するという。共和党は、この計画は法外な借金を国に課して高価な義務を州に負わせ、メディケアの弱体化と医療制度への連邦政府介入を許すものだという。
 議会予算局によれば、健康保険保持をほとんどの米国人に要求し、1600万人をメディケイドに追加登録し、低中間所得層の私的保険に助成し、10年間で9380億ドルの政府予算が必要となる。
 多くの雇用者に対して、従業員に保険を提供するか罰金を支払うかが必要とされる。各州は、連邦基準に合致するような保険市場の設定をして住民が保険取得できるようにする。
 予算局の試算では3200万人の無保険者が保険取得することになるが、それでも2019年時点で2300万人が無保険のままだろうという。その1/3は違法移民である。
 メディケア経費削減、高価な雇用者保険への新税、富裕層への投資収益税により、今後10年で1430億ドルの国家予算赤字を減らすという議会予算局の見積もりにより、財政保守的な民主党員を賛成にまわらせた。
(書きかけ)
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「医療制度改革」
http://kurie.at.webry.info/theme/64293b0b07.html
オバマ大統領 議会に対し医療制度改革への最後通告
http://kurie.at.webry.info/201003/article_5.html
医療制度改革法案が上院通過/米国医療事情
http://kurie.at.webry.info/200912/article_33.html
医療制度改革法案が下院を通過/米国医療事情 オバマ政権
http://kurie.at.webry.info/200911/article_11.html
上院財務委員会で医療制度改革法案が可決/米国医療事情 オバマ政権
http://kurie.at.webry.info/200910/article_18.html
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米医療保険制度改革法案 下院が可決、成立へ
http://www.asahi.com/international/update/0322/TKY201003220116.html
2010 年3月22日12時41分
 【ワシントン=伊藤宏】米下院は21日、オバマ米大統領が内政の最重要課題に掲げる医療保険制度改革の関連法案を219対212の賛成多数で可決した。同法案は、オバマ氏の署名を経て成立する。オバマ氏は就任以来の公約としてきた医療保険制度改革で一定の成果をあげた形だ。先進国のなかで保険加入率が著しく低かった米国の制度の歴史的な転機ともなる。
 下院が同日に可決したのは、上院が昨年末に可決した関連法案。上下両院を通過したことで議会での手続きが完了し、オバマ氏が法案に署名、成立する環境が整った。
 オバマ政権は、上下両院が可決した関連法案が成立すれば、改革にかかる費用は今後10年間で約9400億ドル(約85兆円)と試算。民間保険の加入基準の緩和や保険加入のための政府の補助などによって、保険加入率を現在の83%から95%まで引き上げることが可能としている。オバマ氏が当初掲げた新たな公的医療保険制度の創設は見送られた。
 下院はこの他に、上院の法案に含まれない減税措置などを盛り込むため、同法案の予算に関連する措置の一部を「予算調整」と呼ばれる仕組みを使って修正。その手続き法案も続いて可決した。こちらの法案は上院では週内にも採決される見通しで、可決・成立すれば同改革の法制化の手続きが完了する。
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米医療保険制度改革法案を可決、成立へ
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20100322-OYT1T00404.htm
 【ワシントン=黒瀬悦成】米下院は21日、オバマ米大統領が内政上の最重要懸案に掲げてきた医療保険制度改革法案を賛成多数で可決した。
 大統領の署名を経て成立する。法案は医療保険への加入を事実上義務化し、先進国で唯一国民皆保険制度がなかった米国の医療保険制度にとり、歴史的な変革となる。
(2010年3月22日12時22分 読売新聞)
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House Approves Health Overhaul, Sending Landmark Bill to Obama
By ROBERT PEAR and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: March 21, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/health/policy/22health.html

画像Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, walked to the Capitol on Sunday before the vote on the health care overhaul.

Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan said that anti-abortion Democrats were satisfied with a proposed executive order “to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services.”

By a vote of 219 to 212, the House passed the bill after a day of tumultuous debate that echoed the epic struggle of the last year. The action sent the bill to President Obama, whose crusade for such legislation has been a hallmark of his presidency.

Minutes later, the House passed a package of changes to the bill and sent it to the Senate. The Semate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, has promised House Democrats that the Senate would quickly take up the reconciliation bill with the changes in it, and that he had secured the votes to pass it.

But while the Senate is bracing for a fierce floor fight over the reconciliation measure, the landscape was permanently altered by passage of the original Senate bill. Should the reconciliation bill, which cannot be filibustered, collapse for any reason, the core components of the Democrats’ health care overhaul would move forward. Indeed, Senate Republicans were quickly faced with a need to recalibrate their message from one aimed at stopping the legislation to one focused on winning back a sufficient number of seats in Congress to repeal it.

Mr. Obama watched the roll call with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the Roosevelt Room inside the White House. Since Monday, the president had spoken with 92 lawmakers, either in person or by telephone, the White House said.

“Tonight when the pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics,” Mr. Obama said in televised remarks from the White House shortly before midnight.

“We proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things,” Mr. Obama said. “We proved that this government ― a government of the people and by the people ― still works for the people.”

Democrats hailed the votes as historic, comparable to the establishment of Medicare and Social Security and a long overdue step forward in social justice. “This is the civil rights act of the 21st century,” said Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House.

After a year of partisan combat and weeks of legislative brinksmanship, House Democrats and the White House clinched their victory only hours before the voting started on Sunday. They agreed to a deal with opponents of abortion rights within their party to reiterate in an executive order that federal money provided by the bill could not be used for abortions, giving the Democrats the final votes. Democrats said that in expanding access to health coverage for uninsured Americans, they were creating a new program every bit as important as Social Security and Medicare, while also putting downward pressure on rising health care costs and reining in federal budget deficits.

Republicans said the plan would saddle the nation with unaffordable levels of debt, leave states with expensive new obligations, weaken Medicare and give the government a huge new role in the health care system.

The debate on the legislation has highlighted the deep partisan and ideological divides in the nation and set up a bitter midterm Congressional election campaign, with Republicans promising an effort to repeal it or block its provisions in the states.

Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, said the bill heralded “a new day in America.” Representative Doris Matsui, Democrat of California, said it would “improve the quality of life for millions of American families.”

But Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, denounced the bill as “a fiscal Frankenstein.” Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, called it “a decisive step in the weakening of the United States.” Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said it was “one of the most offensive pieces of social engineering legislation in the history of the United States.”

The passions swirling round the bill were evident Sunday on the sun-splashed lawn south of the Capitol. Hundreds of protesters chanted, “Kill the bill” and waved yellow flags declaring, “Don’t Tread on Me.” They carried signs saying, “Doctors, Not Dictators.”

The health care bill would require most Americans to have health insurance, would add 16 million people to the Medicaid rolls and would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people, at a cost to the government of $938 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The bill would require many employers to offer coverage to employees or pay a penalty. Each state would set up a marketplace, or exchange, where consumers without such coverage could shop for insurance meeting federal standards.

The budget office estimates that the bill would provide coverage to 32 million uninsured people, but still leave 23 million uninsured in 2019. One-third of those remaining uninsured would be illegal immigrants.

The new costs, according to the budget office, would be more than offset by savings in Medicare and by new taxes and fees, including a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on the investment income of the most affluent Americans.

Cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $143 billion in the next 10 years, persuaded some fiscally conservative Democrats that they should vote for the bill.

Democrats said Americans would embrace the bill when they saw its benefits, including some provisions that take effect later this year.

The budget office estimates that the bill would provide coverage to 32 million uninsured people, but still leave 23 million uninsured in 2019. One-third of those remaining uninsured would be illegal immigrants.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan said that anti-abortion Democrats were satisfied with a proposed executive order “to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services.”


House Minority Leader John Boehner, left, and Representative Eric Cantor walked with other Republicans to the House floor on Sunday.

The new costs, according to the budget office, would be more than offset by savings in Medicare and by new taxes and fees, including a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on the investment income of the most affluent Americans.

Cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $143 billion in the next 10 years, persuaded some fiscally conservative Democrats that they should vote for the bill.

Democrats said Americans would embrace the bill when they saw its benefits, including some provisions that take effect later this year.

Health insurers, for example, could not deny coverage to children with medical problems or suddenly drop coverage for people who become ill. Insurers must allow children to stay on their parents’ policies up to their 26th birthday. Small businesses could obtain tax credits to help them buy insurance.

The Democratic effort to secure the 216 votes needed for passage of the legislation came together only after last-minute negotiations involving the White House, the House leadership and a group of Democratic opponents of abortion rights, led by Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan. On Sunday afternoon, members of the group announced that they would support the legislation after Mr. Obama promised to issue an executive order to “ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services.”

Mr. Stupak described the order as a significant guarantee that would “protect the sanctity of life in health care reform.” But supporters of abortion rights ― and some opponents ― said the order merely reaffirmed what was in the bill.

The procedural vote on Sunday, approving the terms of debate, had put the House on track to approve the health care bill that was passed by the Senate on Dec. 24, on a party-line vote. That bill will soon become the law of the land, the White House said.

House Democrats were also poised to pass a separate measure that would make significant changes and corrections to the Senate bill. That measure would go to the Senate, where the majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, has promised to take it up in short order. Mr. Reid said he had the votes to pass it, though he faces resistance from Republicans.

The House galleries were full, and the floor was unusually crowded, for the historic debate on health care. Passage of the bill would be a triumph for Mr. Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Working together, they revived the legislation when it appeared dead after Democrats lost their 60th vote in the Senate and with it their ability to shut off Republican filibusters.

Republicans said they would use the outcome to bludgeon Democrats in this year’s Congressional elections. The White House is planning an intensive effort to convince people of the bill’s benefits. But if Democrats suffer substantial losses in November, Mr. Obama could be stymied on other issues, including his efforts to pass major energy and immigration bills.

The campaign for health care overhaul began as a way to help the uninsured. But it gained momentum when middle-class families with health insurance flooded Congress with their grievances. They complained of soaring premiums. They said their insurance had been canceled when they got sick.

“It’s not just the uninsured,” said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “We also have to worry about people with insurance who find, for crazy reasons, that they are somehow going to be denied coverage.”

The drive for universal insurance coverage was sustained by lawmakers like Representative Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin. Adding urgency to the debate were the strident complaints of employers, especially small businesses, who said they were being crushed by the cost of employee health benefits.

In the end, groups like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business tried to stop the bill, saying it would increase the cost of doing business. But other groups, including the American Medical Association and AARP backed it, as did the pharmaceutical industry. Lawmakers agreed that Sunday’s debate was historic, but they were poles apart in assessing the legislation.

Ms. Pelosi said the bill would free people to pursue their dreams without having to worry about being bankrupted by medical bills or losing health insurance when they switch jobs.

“It’s liberating legislation,” Ms. Pelosi said. “It’s to free Americans to live their passion, reach their aspirations without being job-locked because they have to have health care, especially if they have someone in their family with a pre-existing condition.”

Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, said, “You cannot expect to expand coverage to millions of individuals and to curb costs at the same time.”

Republicans said the picture painted by the budget office was too rosy, because the new taxes and fees would start immediately, while the major costs would not show up for four years.

Moreover, Republicans said Democrats would pay a price for defying public opinion on the bill.

“Are you so arrogant that you know what’s best for the American people?” Representative Paul Broun, Republican of Georgia, asked the Democrats. “Are you so ignorant to be oblivious to the wishes of the American people?”

Lawmakers spoke with deep conviction in explaining their votes.

“Health care is not only a civil right, it’s a moral issue,” said Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, who invoked the memory of his father, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, a lifelong champion of health care for all.

After the legislation passed and he called it a night, Mr. Obama sought to place the day in a broader perspective.

“In the end what this day represents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream,” the president said. “Tonight, we answered the call of history as so many generations of Americans have before us. When faced with crisis, we did not shrink from our challenges. We overcame them. We did not avoid our responsibilities, we embraced it. We did not fear our future, we shaped it.”

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