Democrats Start Piecemeal Health Care Effort

Congressional Democrats remain in a stasis over the future of their massive health care reform bill.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not trying to move ahead in bits and pieces.

On Friday, two freshmen Democrats plan to unveil a bill to lift the anti-trust exemption that many health insurance companies now enjoy. House Democratic leaders plan to put that bill on the floor next week.

It isn’t the big health care reform package lawmakers sweated over for more than a year. But the legislation could be the first part of several “piecemeal” bills that Congress tries to move as another run-up to a sweeping health care reform effort or in lieu of a major health bill.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t do some pieces separately,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Reps. Betsy Markey (D-CO) and Tom Perriello (D-VA) co-authored the anti-trust exemption plan. In a statement, the duo accuses insurance companies of getting “special treatment” that collusion them to “fix prices.”

Still, the anti-trust exemption legislation is a shadow of the larger bill Democrats were on the verge of passing just a few weeks ago.

“I would like to have had this all done by now,” said Pelosi about the state of limbo for comprehensive health care reform. “The problem is not going away.”