Senate Leaders Meet With Obama To Discuss Bipartisan Reform Plans
Leaders of the two Senate panels developing health overhaul legislation met at the White House Thursday to discuss how to create a bipartisan plan for a health care overhaul that will cover all U.S. residents, regardless of health status, Politico reports.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) told President Obama that they still plan to have a Senate bill approved in July.
Dodd is filling in for HELP Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) (Parnes, Politico, 6/10).
Points of Negotiation
Several issues remain contentious between Democrats and Republicans, including:
- Whether a new public insurance plan should be established;
- Whether employers should be required to provide coverage for workers; and
- How reform should be financed (AP/USA Today, 6/10).
Grassley said that Obama "was flexible except in one area and that is get the job done" (Politico, 6/10).
However, Enzi said, "I'm a little worried about the timeline, and I'm a little worried about how we pay for it" (Youngman , The Hill, 6/10).
Baucus said, "The main point now is that we have to act now," adding, "All Americans should have health insurance to make this system work and also it's morally the right thing to do."
Baucus also said, "We discussed various ways to get to 'yes,'" and Obama "was very clear that he prefers a bipartisan solution and we do too. All four of us [are] going to work as hard as we can to fulfill our obligation."
Grassley said, "We all want to get the job done," and "I believe that bipartisanship was spoken about a lot and I would be unhappy if it hadn't been. I think the president wants to work in a bipartisan way."
Enzi said, "What we have to be real careful to do is not to start with the solution and look for the problem." He added, "We've been looking in both of these committees at the problems and trying to figure out a solution that everybody can agree on that will solve that problem. I think we've done a good job of listing the problems and now hopefully we can follow from the problem to the solution" (Politico, 6/10).
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, "The president's going to watch what happens on Capitol Hill, and we'll have more to say as it gets closer to us" (Youngman , The Hill, 6/10).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.