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Chamber Urges Senate Health Care Bill Before the Break

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which just last week launched a multimillion-dollar national advertising campaign against the House health care reform bill, on Monday sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee urging the panel to come up with a bipartisan bill before the August recess.The letter indicates that the chamber is willing to support certain bipartisan health care reforms. But it’s clear that the group could tap into its deep pockets — as it is doing against the House bill — if the Senate Finance product mirrors the Democrats’ House proposal.If, by the August recess, the details of the Senate Finance bill are still unclear, or if the bill is not to some business groups’ liking, then downtown groups like the chamber are expected to focus all their resources on attacking reforms. That, in turn, could cut into the legislation’s momentum when Members return in September.“Some fear that broad-scale public support for health care reform will wane over the August recess because the only detailed legislative proposal that has been adopted is the product being considered in the House,— says the letter signed by chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs R. Bruce Josten. “The House proposal will not generate widespread public support and moves in the wrong direction.—The letter goes on to say that the business community “vitally needs better policy alternatives to be proposed by Congress.— “The Chamber also believes that it is important for the Committee to act promptly, preferably before the August recess, to approve a bi-partisan bill consistent with these principles, as it is now apparent that we will be forced to oppose the legislation being considered by the House,— Josten writes.The chamber’s letter reiterates the group’s opposition to a government-run public insurance option and says it is concerned with proposals that mandate that employers provide health insurance or pay fines.