If you wondered why Democrats never moved with alacrity to get Trump’s tax returns, it’s largely due to the machinations of Democratic House Ways and Means committee chairman Richard Neal–and don’t think he got his position without the Democratic leadership’s approval, including Pelosi’s. Well, not only did he weaken the case for impeachment, he’s now branched out into becoming a defender of …surprise medical billing (boldface mine):
House Ways & Means Committee leaders announced vague outlines of a new proposal to address surprise billing on Wednesday and called for lawmakers to delay legislative action on the issue until 2020.
The announcement comes just days after leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee released details of their own surprise billing legislation.
The new proposal from House Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-Texas) complicates the legislative landscape for surprise billing legislation as Congress hurtles toward an end-of-year deadline to fund the government. Brady told reporters Wednesday that he wants to delay action on surprise billing until next year.
…The Ways & Means outline comes just days after House Energy & Commerce leaders reached a deal with Senate health committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on a separate legislative proposal that has the support of the White House. That bill would require plans to pay providers at least the median in-network negotiated rate and includes an arbitration backstop for providers to appeal payments with a threshold of a $750 in-network rate….
Shawn Gremminger, senior director of federal relations at Families USA, said the consumer advocacy group is also eager for movement by the end of the year.
“I’m all for Ways and Means being at the table. But not at the expense of delaying this until 2020. There’s a bipartisan, bicameral, fully drafted and fully scored deal on the table. Congress needs to get this done before we go into an election year,” Gremminger said.
A congressional aide supportive of the Energy & Commerce compromise legislation called the Ways and Means release “ridiculous House jurisdictional jockeying,” and said that if action on surprise billing is delayed, decisive action on other issues that could be attached to the Energy and Commerce and Senate health committee legislation, like funding for community health centers, could also be pushed back.
It’s clear Neal doesn’t want this to pass (and hurting community health centers just adds to the damage). This is how you kill off legislation–delay, delay, delay (and then water it down).
It would be one thing to delay if you thought a Democrat would be in the White House and you could get a better deal next year, but there is no such reason to delay this. Unless, of course, 98 percent of your campaign donations come from large donors, including insurance companies. Then I suppose there’s a good reason. At least, 98 percent of one.
Related: For those keeping score at home, Neal is a major reason why filing your taxes sucks so bad.