House Democrats Offer ‘Manager’s Amendment,’ Signal Health Reform Debate Is Close

It’s not just the 1,990 page health care bill from House Democrats that the chamber is scheduled to consider later this week. A 42-page “manager’s amendment” filed late Tuesday night by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest serving member of the House who has made health care one of his signature issues, will also play a role in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s quest to win passage of the measure.

A “manager’s amendment” is a series of changes designed to answer members’ concerns about the underlying legislation or to add new provisions aimed at building support. Such amendments, offered by the sponsors of the legislation, can also include technical corrections to fix drafting errors.

Legislative changes included in the document include new provisions to verify eligibility of individuals who apply for subsidies to help finance coverage – an attempt to calm worries that illegal immigrants might obtain benefits – as well as new requirements on health insurers who want to raise premiums and tougher anti-trust language on that industry. The measure also includes a lengthy section on biofuel producer credits and additional steps to curb fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program. The document does not, however, address party disputes over how the bill deals with abortion.

After Democrats unveiled their measure Oct. 29, Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., predicted that Democrats would unveil an 800-page manager’s amendment that members would not be able to digest before a House floor vote. Pelosi has said that the chamber would have 72 hours to review the document. With the release of the manager’s amendment late Tuesday, the clock is ticking and floor consideration is expected to begin Nov. 6. 

Read the amendment below: