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Pro-Reform Lobbyists Express More Doubt On Baucus Bill

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Just as Sen. Max Baucus's health reform bill recently came under fire from the hospital lobby, insurance industry groups are now stepping forward with their own claims of the bill's shortcomings, reports the Washington Post.

Fearing a backlash from industry lobbyists who previously supported the legislation, White House officials are stressing that the legislation is a work in progress.Karen Ignangi, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, said the current bill will not make health care more affordable for individuals.

From the Post:

"The consequences of this would be an upward spiral; rate shock to everyone who stays in," Ignangi said.

For their part, hospital industry lobbyists are upset that the bill will leave a higher number of people excluded from coverage than previously thought. Meanwhile, members of the House are considering placing a windfall profit tax on pharmaceutical companies that would go against a deal struck between drug makers, Baucus and the White House.

But despite breaking several deals reached between lawmakers and industry lobbyists, it seems both parties are willing -- for now -- to be patient with one another, reports Politico.

The industry's cool responses to both developments are another reminder of how much K Street and the Hill have come to see each other as integral to advancing their respective self interests. And after so many months spent hashing out deals, there's a certain level of trust that they will be upheld...

"We remained convinced that the Senate Finance Committee bill will serve as the blue print for comprehensive health care reform. At the same time, we will continue to reach out to House leaders to try and find some middle ground," said PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson.