Pelosi Says House Likely Won’t Pass Senate’s Health Care Bill
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said members of the House are unlikely to pass the version of health care reform legislation already approved by the Senate (HR 3590), the Washington Post reports.
Republican Scott Brown was elected to an open Massachusetts Senate seat on Tuesday, eliminating Democrats' 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.Â As a result Democratic party leaders said that one strategy to pass reform could be for the House to pass the Senate bill without any changes.
However, Pelosi said House Democrats have concerns with too many provisions in the Senate legislation. She said, "I don't think it's possible to pass the Senate bill in the House," adding, "I don't see the votes for it at this time."
Concerns for House Democrats
According to Pelosi, House Democrats object to several measures, including one that benefits only Nebraska's Medicaid system.
Pelosi added that House Democrats object to the level of federal subsidies that the Senate bill would provide for uninsured U.S. residents, which many view as insufficient. In addition, many House Democrats object to the excise tax that the Senate legislation imposes on high-cost insurance plans, which observers have said could disproportionately affect many union workers who forsake higher salaries for better insurance coverage (Murray/Kane, Washington Post, 1/22).
Some Democrats have suggested that the House could pass the Senate reform bill and accompany it with another bill that included changes favored by House members.
However, several House members said they do not trust that the Senate would pass the accompanying bill (Wayne/Epstein, CQ Today, 1/21).
Instead, House Democrats insisted that the Senate pass a separate bill altering the original Senate legislation (Washington Post, 1/22). The House would consider the altered bill and, if passed, would send it back to the Senate for final approval (O'Connor/Budoff Brown, Politico, 1/21).
Still, some Democrats believe House members will change their minds after considering their limited options on health reform, according to the AP/Chicago Tribune.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said that several House Democrats "are at various levels of the seven stages of grief" while considering how to proceed on health reform legislation (Babington, AP/Chicago Tribune, 1/22).Pelosi said that she would not rule out moving forward with some type of reform bill, adding that she would take several days to consult with House members. She said, "We have to know what our possibilities are. We're not in a big rush" (CQ Today, 1/21). 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.