The strange world of political bedfellows often produces progr

CATEGORY: EDT Editorials

AUTHOR: JOER

The strange world of political bedfellows often produces progressive and widely helpful legislation.

The U.S. Senate expects to vote Tuesday on a bill that would make significant but not comprehensive changes in health insurance regulations affecting 25 million Americans.

Republican Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas and Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts joined their ideas and considerable influence to craft a bill that would guarantee continued health coverage for people who change or lose their jobs. The most important part of that single provision probably is a requirement that coverage will be continued even if indioviduals have pre-existing health problems like multiple sclerosis.

The Senate bill, the Associated Press reported Friday, is expected to gain near-unanimous approval. It does not match a House health care reform bill, and the issue will end up in a conference committee. It is worth noting that one of the Senate conferees will be Republican Majority Leader Robert Dole of Kansas. He is the nominee-presumptive of his party for president, and he wants the Senate’s version passed and sent to President Clinton for signing.

The bill has other significant provisions, including partial tax deductibility for health insurance purchased by self-employed people, penalty-free Individual Retirement Account withdrawals for major medical expenses, and parity for insurance coverage for mental illness.

The bill falls far short of guaranteeing universal health care coverage in any form, but it is a positive and reasonable change that makes better health care more accessible for many more citizens.

We hope Mississippi’s House delegation uses its bipartisan influence to finally pass a bill that strongly resembles the Senate’s legislation.

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