Health Overhaul Hits Homestretch [03-15-10]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 10:31 am

Now, finally, the voting is set to begin on federal health legislation that leading Democrats claim could pass the House as soon as this coming weekend.  Democrats are still wrangling support in the House, where the action begins this afternoon when the House Budget Committee meets to start the process.  On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee will get down to business on the reconciliation bill. When its work is done, which could take a couple of days, the full House will get its crack at a vote.

To get overhaul passed, Democrats are set to use the reconciliation process, which would return a revised bill to the Senate for a vote that can’t be filibustered.  But the House must still pass the existing Senate health bill, approved at the end of last year. Despite negative feelings of many Americans and the likely political fallout in the next election, Democrats appear to be moving forward, understanding the political costs they will incur.  Supposedly, they believe that no matter what they do, the Republicans will be able to use it against them in the next elections – so why not get the bill passed?  Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.  Either they are widely politically misdirected or Democrats believe that Americans will ultimately approve of the overhaul because it is estiamted (by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) that 10 million more people in the next five years would be without health insurance if nothing happens on overhaul.

Can the Democrats do it?

House Majority Whip House James Clyburn of South Carolina acknowledged Sunday that the Democrats didn’t have the votes lined up just yet. But, Clyburn said on NBC’s Meet the Press: “We’ve been working this  thing all weekend and we will be working it going into the week. I am also very confident that we will get this done.”  Then, assuming the Democrats get their way, the action will shift to the Senate, which would have to follow through on changes the House Democrats want. Senate deliberations and voting would take another week.  Republicans in both chambers remain opposed to the overhaul plan and vow to try to stop it. On CNN Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said, “”I’m doing everything I can to prevent this bill from becoming law. Plain and simple.”

Based upon an article by Scott Hensley of NPR

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