Health Bill's Lesser-Known Provisions Could Have Big Impact

News outlets report on some of the lesser-known provisions of the health care bills pending in Congress, including possible improvements for the Indian Health System and mandated calorie count labels on vending machines.

The New York Times: "The health care overhaul now being debated in Congress appears poised to bring the most significant improvements to the Indian health system in decades. After months of negotiations, provisions under consideration could, over time, direct streams of money to the Indian health care system and give Indians more treatment options. Some proposals, like exempting Indians from penalties for not obtaining insurance, may meet resistance from lawmakers opposed to expanding benefits for Indians, many of whom receive free medical care. But advocates say the changes recognize Indians' unique status and could ease what Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, calls 'full-scale health care rationing going on on Indian reservations'" (Belluck, 12/1).

NPR reports that "the Senate and the House bills include provisions that might mean big changes for the food, drug and medical devices industries." For example, "Nutrition advocates want people to realize how many calories there are in non-diet sodas, potato chips and snack cakes. And there's a sentence in both bills that says that vending machine operators would have to provide that information on the machines." In addition, another provision would require "[a]ll chain restaurants would have to post calorie counts for their products. In some states, they already have to" (Silberner, 12/2).

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