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Congress struggling to finish a huge budget reconciliation bill. A GOP president pushing a major overhaul of federal payments for health insurance that could transform the lives of sick patients.

Sound familiar? The year was 1986. I was a rookie health reporter on Capitol Hill and watched a Medicare bill move from introduction, to hearings, to votes in subcommittees, to full committees and then to the entire House — an operation that took months and was replicated in the Senate, before the two chambers got together to iron out their differences for final passage.


Everything was published in the official Congressional Record in almost excruciating detail for everyone to see — as long as they could read really tiny type.

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  • Julie,
    Thanks so much for this. SPJ has been fighting the mandates to go through PIOs for years now, something that creates a lot of secrecy about all health programs. Can we talk about that? Can we get AHCJ to move on all of this stuff? Kathryn

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