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Obamacare update: Keep your eye on the “Vapor Bill”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 2, 2009 11:29 AM

Conn Carroll at Heritage gives you a very helpful rundown on how Obamacare is moving through Congress.

Read about the “Vapor Bill” here — and keep melting those phones.

Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

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Here’s the NYT’s latest:

My colleagues, Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes, who followed the committee proceedings through the wee hours of the morning, report some of the crucial changes that were made to the bill in the final session, including an easing of penalties the new law would require for people who fail to obtain health insurance.

The committee, in its homestretch, also adopted a proposal by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, to retain the Children’s Health Insurance Program as a stand-alone benefits package — rather than shift children and families onto plans to be offered through new state-run insurance marketplaces.

Mr. Reid’s office has already started working on combining the two bills.
Attention will also now shift back to the House, where Democrats are still wrangling over their version of the health legislation.

That effort should get a lift from the completion of the Finance Committee’s work, allowing lawmakers to take into account with greater certainty the Senate’s position on crucial issues, particularly how to pay for the health care overhaul.

House Democrats are still proposing a surtax on high-income Americans as a way to generate revenue. But the Senate shunned that idea, choosing instead to tax high-cost health insurance plans.

That proposal, which is opposed by labor unions that have negotiated generous benefits packages for their members, is viewed more warily in the House — where organized labor is a crucial constituency for many rank-and-file Democrats.

House leaders are considering whether they can incorporate some version of the tax on costly insurance policies into their bill.

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