House Committee Chairs Aim To Vote on Health Reform by August
In a letter to President Obama Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller (D-Calif.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) wrote that they would work together to bring health care overhaul legislation to the House floor by the August congressional recess, the AP/Kansas City Star reports.
The letter states, "As chairs of these committees and veterans of past health reform debates, we have agreed to coordinate our efforts," adding, "Our intention is to bring similar legislation before our committees and to work from a harmonized approach to ensure success" (Werner, AP/Kansas City Star, 3/11).
On Wednesday, the Ways and Means panel approved a "views and estimates" letter to the House Budget Committee describing legislation that would "expand health insurance coverage, improve the quality of care and reduce overall growth in health care system costs" (Wayne, CQ Today, 3/11).
A spokesperson for Obama said the president "looks forward to working with House leaders and congressional partners from both parties to pass health reform this year." Senate leaders have announced a similar timeline to bring a comprehensive health reform bill to the floor (AP/Kansas City Star, 3/11).
CQ Today reports that the "Senate probably will not be able to move as quickly as the House" on an overhaul bill, and it is "unclear whether the bill writing process in the Senate will be as coordinated as the three House chairmen have pledged to write theirs."Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who are expected to lead the Senate efforts on health reform, are "working in concert," according to a spokesperson for Kennedy (CQ Today, 3/11). 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.