Health bill has some extra goodies

The costs of an overhaul to health care


Steve Chiotakis: The House could vote this weekend on its version of a health-care overhaul. But Congress being Congress, these reform plans just aren't about health care. They contain a few goodies aimed at helping other constituencies too, as reporter Joel Rose explains.

Joel Rose: This week, lawmakers quietly tacked an amendment onto the health-care overhaul bill. It's supposed to prevent the paper industry from taking advantage of a $24 billion loophole in a tax-incentive program aimed at helping alternative fuels. The $1.2 trillion dollar House bill contains funding for lots of projects, including some with only a tenuous connection to health care.

Dave Levinthal is with the Center for Responsive Politics.

Dave Levinthal: As this legislation has coursed through Congress, there have been hundreds of millions of dollars with of items that have been proposed, everything from street lights to farmers markets and walking paths and various other things that only tangentially related to health, in some peoples' opinions.

Supporters say walking paths and farmers markets are related to health because they help prevent obesity and disease. Even if the House votes on its bill this weekend, there's still time to add more amendments. It could be weeks before the Senate votes on its version of the health-care bill.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.


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