Health Care Reform Proponents Review Options for Passing Plan
Amid reports of fading chances of a bipartisan compromise, White House officials and Democratic leaders in Congress have begun considering a range of strategies for passing a health reform bill after lawmakers return from recess, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.
Legislative observers say that it is impossible to predict accurately which plan, if any, will prevail and produce a final overhaul bill. Possible avenues for passing reform include:
- Bipartisan agreement;
- 60-Democrats strategy;
- Small GOP support;
- Strong-arm tactics;
- An all-Democrats approach (Babington, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/21);
- Starting over with a new plan (Haberkorn/Bellantoni, Washington Times, 8/21).
According to the AP/Chronicle, all of the above options could fail, and the bill could founder.
However, top lawmakers do not consider this likely, saying Democrats should at least be able to produce a modest reform bill that Obama could claim as a victory while maintaining the opportunity to enact later reforms (AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/21).
According to the Washington Times, the debate could be altered by lawmakers' actions or future proposals, such as Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) idea to scale back the size of the bill in part because of fears of U.S. residents regarding a government takeover of health care (Washington Times, 8/21).
Grassley said, "It might be the case that a better, less costly plan can be drafted in the Finance Committee" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 8/20).
Some Democrats Say Public Plan Gaining Momentum
Some House Democrats claim that a public plan as part of health reform legislation is gaining new momentum, Roll Call reports.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on Thursday said that "the reality has hit home that the public option" is the only way to secure effective reform.In addition, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that the House has more than 60 members prepared to vote against any bill that does not include a public plan. He added, "We've got 60 people and we're not going to back down" (Newmyer, Roll Call, 8/20). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.