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Why Jim Marshall Won't Read H.R. 3200?

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After the hundreds of comments from readers complaining that Jim Marshall hadn't read the Health Care Reform Bill, I thought it was important to find out how he could justify voting against H.R. 3200 without reading it.

Rep. Marshall is in Afghanistan this week, so I spoke to Doug Moore, his press secretary. He could not speak specifically about the process Jim used with H.R. 3200 but he said Jim has a sense of what's in legislation based on conversations with other members of the house, staff inputs, information coming from the committees reviewing the bill, and other sources like newspapers and House Action Reports. In addition, there are numerous groups of experts such as the Legislative Counsel and the Congressional Research Service who research bills and issues for House members. The Blue Dog Democrats even have a shared staffer that reviews legislation for the group.

Rep. Marshall sent me a copy of Health Care Reform: An Introduction after I called his office complaining that I had a right to know what he thought about H.R. 3200 even if he hadn't made up his mind yet.

In the end, his constituents will decide if he can make an informed decision without reading the bill.

Skippypicasso, a Huffington Post reader, asked me to find out what health care legislation Rep. Marshall had introduced since he didn't like H.R. 3200. According to Mr. Moore, "Nobody's taken on comprehensive health care." However, Rep. Marshall has both sponsored and cosponsored several bills that affect health care.

Health care related bills that Rep. Marshall has sponsored:
• H.R.2115: To amend the Public Health Service Act and title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide for a screening and treatment program for prostate cancer in the same manner as is provided for breast and cervical cancer
• H.R.5942: To require Congressional approval for implementation of a severity-adjusted inpatient prospective payment system for rural hospitals under the Medicare Program.

An incomplete list of health care related bills that Rep. Marshall has cosponsored:
• H.R.43: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare outpatient rehabilitation therapy caps
• H.R.58: To restore health care coverage to retired members of the uniformed services
• H.R.290: To expand research regarding inflammatory bowel disease, and for other purposes
• H.R.328: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the importation of prescription drugs, and for other purposes
• H.R.376: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries
• H.R.583: To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for arthritis research and public health, and for other purposes
• H.R.596: To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Network to prepare, store, and distribute human umbilical cord blood stem cells for the treatment of patients and to support peer-reviewed research using such cells
• H.R.699: To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to include podiatrists as physicians for purposes of covering physicians services under the Medicaid Program
• H.R.752: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to deliver a meaningful benefit and lower prescription drug prices under the Medicare Program
• H.R.918: To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize a demonstration grant program to provide patient navigator services to reduce barriers and improve health care outcomes, and for other purposes
• H.R.1077: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for Medicare coverage of services of qualified respiratory therapists performed under the general supervision of a physician
• H.R.1125: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare outpatient rehabilitation therapy caps
• H.R.1188: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to improve access to emergency medical services and the quality and efficiency of care furnished in emergency departments of hospitals and critical access hospitals by establishing a bipartisan commission to examine factors that affect the effective delivery of such services, by providing for additional payments for certain physician services furnished in such emergency departments, and by establishing a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Working Group, and for other purposes
• H.R.1458: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide continued entitlement to coverage for immunosuppressive drugs furnished to beneficiaries under the Medicare Program that have received a kidney transplant and whose entitlement to coverage would otherwise expire, and for other purposes
• H.R.1568: To amend part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for a prescription drug benefit with a high deductible at no additional premium and access to discount prices on drugs and to provide for the operation of such benefit without a deductible for certain low-income Medicare beneficiaries
• H.R.1675: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to protect and preserve access of Medicare beneficiaries to health care provided by hospitals in rural areas, and for other purposes
• H.R.1734: To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish an Office of Men's Health
• H.R.1910: To prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance
• H.R.1963: To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the fair treatment of certain physician pathology services under the Medicare Program

Complete text of these bills and their current status is available on www.Thomas.gov