KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Key Democratic Senators Aren’t Yet Committing To Health Bill

Some of the key players in the health care debate are featured in news articles today.

The Fargo Forum reports that Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is "back in the national spotlight."

"Earlier this year, Conrad was a member of the 'Gang of Six' senators to cultivate health care reform legislation. Now, Conrad is among some Democrats who have voiced reluctance and opposition toward a deal struck by Senate leadership Tuesday, which trades a public health insurance option for an expansion in Medicare coverage to include those between 55 and 64 years old. Conrad in the past has said he won't support a health care option tied to Medicare rates, claiming it would hurt North Dakotans because the state has one of the lowest Medicare reimbursement rates in the nation" (Daum, 12/9). 

The Newport News, Va.,Daily Press: "Senate Democrats are deep in health-care reform wrangling that could drag on until Christmas, and U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner are poised to play vital roles in the debate. But in Washington's constantly evolving political landscape, neither Virginia Democrat appears ready to vote 'yes' on reform yet. Webb pointed out that during a series of recent votes about health care, he sided with Republicans who oppose cuts to Medicare funding" (Payne, 12/9).

CongressDaily: "Senate Majority Leader Reid, dangling the chance of a free weekend, wants to move off healthcare reform early next week and take up a nearly $450 billion FY10 appropriations 'minibus' spending package with Republican consent. If Republicans object, as seems likely, Reid said he will keep the Senate in session this weekend for required procedural votes on the spending legislation. Reid's gambit is part of an increasingly tough effort to approve health care and a series of year-end measures before Christmas" (Friedman, 12/10).

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