Posts Tagged - ‘pell grants’

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Back To The Drawing Board: Health Insurance Reform Returns To House

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

(Image: fimoculous under CC 3.0)

It’s possible that healthcare reform supporters were rejoicing too soon: it turns out that the health insurance bill will end up returning to the House of Representatives for a Senate vote.

Although Republicans tried to offer many amendments in an attempt to force the bill back to the House, it wasn’t their efforts that have stalled it. Unfortunately for the GOP, the thrust of the bill remains as is. Rather, Democrats themselves made some minor mistakes when writing the legislation. According to the Senate’s parliamentarian, two provisions are not considered to be directly related through the federal budget. Therefore, they cannot be passed through the reconciliation process. The offending provisions are related to an increase in federal Pell grants for college education.

Now, the Senate will have to vote on those issues sometime today, after working on the legislation last night. The House will then have to vote on the bill again, as soon as this evening. While some representatives may consider changing their vote, doing so makes little sense. The changes will not significantly change the content of the bill. Also, those who are angry probably won’t forget their support for the changes in how health insurance plans are bought and sold.

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College Funding and Student Health Insurance

Friday, March 19th, 2010

(Image: m00by under CC 3.0)

There’s a strange, unrelated provision in the healthcare reform bill: college grants. Over the next decade, the bill would put $60 billion towards Pell Grants. The grants help low-income college students afford higher education. While that’s certainly a worthy goal, its relation to health insurance plans is tenuous, at best.

In effect, it satisfies progressive House members who believe that the Senate bill is not comprehensive enough. The amount also includes money the Congressional Black Caucus pushed for in order to aid historically black colleges and universities. Since the provisions are related to the budget, they can pass through the reconciliation process. However, Republicans will surely take the opportunity to decry the unrelated inclusions.

With increased Pell Grants, more young adults will be able to attend college. As a result, they will need student health insurance. Many universities already require their students to be insured, and the reform bill includes a national mandate with subsidies.

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