Reacting to an amendment proposed by Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Texas) during the Senate Finance Committee's markup of health care reform legislation on Thursday, committee member Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called his colleague a pawn of the health insurance industry.
"This is a very, very important amendment and it's a very, very bad amendment," said Rockefeller. "If there's anything which is clear, it's that the insurance industry is not running this markup, but is running certain people in this markup."
On Wednesday, committee member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) unintentionally made the same point about himself when he begged for "at least 72 hours for the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all of the legislation that we pass around here, and the regulations that we pass around here, to say, 'Hey, wait a minute. Have you considered this?'"
Cornyn, for his part, took umbrage.
"With all due respect, senator, I don't know what amendment you're referring to," he said.
Check out Rockefeller's remarks:
A Cornyn spokesman told the Huffington Post that the amendment under discussion "would deem any individual enrolled in any health plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to have met the personal responsibility requirement" -- even if the plan doesn't meet proposed requirements.
"Sen. Cornyn's amendment simply clarifies that the nearly 90% of Americans who are happy with that insurance won't be required to change it," the spokesman wrote in an email.
Rockefeller said: "What you have done through your amendment, Senator Cornyn, is to take the very clear fact that those who are self-insured through their companies, that the insurance companies would be grandfathered from ever accepting any of the disciplines which we are putting on the rest of the non-self-insured population...What you're saying is almost half of all Americans, because of the grandfathering, will not get the restraints on the caps, the rescissions and all of those things which are standard fare for what we think over here."
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