A big night for healthcare reform

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Sunday evening marked the turning point for the passage of healthcare reform. After the turmoil of the past year, you almost have to pinch yourself to believe it.

What actually did transpire? It was a complex set of maneuvers. Essentially, the House passed the Senate version of the legislation, which goes to the president for his signature. It also passed a reconciliation bill that allows the Senate to make certain changes to the bill. That process is scheduled to begin Tuesday and is more than likely to take place. Still, it could be sticky, as it gives Republicans, who did not vote for either bill, the opportunity to strip out the fixes that were agreed upon by House and Senate Democratic leaders.

But barring that, here's a general overview of the impending law: It would expand Medicaid, gradually eliminate the doughnut hole in Medicare Part D, and create the CLASS Act, a major program that would allow workers to buy into a disability insurance program. It also would include significant transparency requirements for nursing homes.  

This, of course, is just skimming the surface. There are numerous other provisions affecting long-term care, including changes to the Medicare market basket. Check back later on The Editors' Blog to learn more details.

Of course, Congress has not yet closed the deal. There is still the hurdle of the reconciliation process in the Senate. Also, wounds on the opposing side are still raw. You only had to hear the fired-up Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner on the floor of the House last night to know that. There is already talk of challenges to any final piece of legislation.

But it appears that the finish line is in sight—and it's about time. Spring is here. The time for renewal. I'm all for that.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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