Health Care Limbo

What a weird time this is right now for the health care reform debate.  Congress isn’t back for another eleven days, as Democrats struggle to turn this battle back in their favor.

I had thought next week would be one where President Obama could try to swing things to his advantage, but now the White House indicates he will work a short week in the days leading up to Labor Day.

So, we are in Legislative Limbo, waiting for Democrats to figure out what the best course of action is.

As for the suggestion that the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy is going to become the rallying cry for backers of major health care system changes, that seems like a longshot to me.

But we’ll give Democrats the benefit of the doubt and wait until after Labor Day to see if lawmakers return with any renewed vigor, and more importantly for them, some extra votes.

While we wait for the next move, let’s pop open the Health Care bill in the House and see what we can find.

How about Section 1123, “Payments for Efficient Areas.”

This section details a two year program of incentive payments to doctors between January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2013.

The five percent payments for primary care doctors would go to those that are identified as “cost efficient” areas – usually rural in nature.

Interestingly, one of the provisions in this section is the “Limitation on Review,” which we have explored before on this blog.  This prohibits any “administrative or judicial review” regarding those areas chosen for the incentive payments.

“The Secretary shall post the list of counties identified under this paragraph on the Internet website of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” the text says.

Keep reading and keep digging.  The clock is definitely ticking.