White House Democrats Will Delay Use of Budget Process for Reform Plan
The Obama administration and House Democrats on Thursday decided to delay use of budget reconciliation to pass health care reform legislation until at least September to allow time to reach a compromise with Republicans, the Washington Post reports.
After a meeting with senior White House officials on Wednesday, House Democrats decided to include a provision in their version of the budget that would trigger the use of reconciliation in absence of a compromise on health care reform legislation.
Senate Democrats have not decided whether to include such a provision in their version of the budget.
According to the Post, congressional Republicans "have blasted the idea of reconciliation, saying it would severely undermine bipartisanship" (Montgomery/Connolly, Washington Post, 3/20).
Speaking to reporters at the Kaiser Family Foundation Thursday, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that he would prefer not to use the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform legislation. He said, "Politically, to have a bipartisan agreement, it's got to be done through regular order and not reconciliation" (Armstrong, CQ Today, 3/19).
Grassley on Prospects for Agreement
At the event, Grassley also said that congressional Democrats and Republicans likely will not reach an agreement on health care reform legislation with a provision that would establish a public health plan to compete with private plans (Yoest, Wall Street Journal, 3/19).
Such a public health plan would represent a "step toward single-payer, government-run health care for everyone," he said (Young, The Hill, 3/19).As a possible compromise between Democrats and Republicans, Grassley cited a proposal that would have Congress establish minimum standards for all private health plans and allow national competition (Vitez, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/20). He said, "You set up a certain minimum that every insurance policy has to have," and "then the options are, who do you want to buy from in the private sector?" (Edney, CongressDaily, 3/19). 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.