Dems Discuss Plans To Advance Health Reform; Opposition Steps Up Its Game
The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: "Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, predicted that the Congress would wrap up its healthcare bills for President Barack Obama's signature before lawmakers leave for a holiday recess." He said he believed "that we will have the bill on the president's desk by the time we leave on March 27th." He also told said, according to The Hill, that this deadline "didn't just extend to the House passing the Senate bill, but to the package of fixes House Democrats have also demanded. 'That's two bills: That's the Senate bill that's in the House, I hope, and the corrections bill'" (O'Brien, 3/9).
CQ Politics: Also Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., promised "to resolve the dispute over abortion language that threatens to sink Democrats' efforts to enact a health care overhaul." Hoyer said, "Abortion has to be resolved," adding, "I think it will be resolved one way or the other and the bill will be passed" (Eggen, 3/9). He said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., "recently approached him on the House floor to request a meeting to discuss the issue. So far, they have not met, Hoyer said. Stupak on Monday signalled willingness to deal. 'I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago,' Stupak told The Associated Press between meetings with constituents in his northern Michigan district" (3/9).
Meanwhile, the battle lines regarding the health overhaul measure are becoming more entrenched.
The Associated Press: Business groups announced Tuesday a new campaign and advertising buy -- costing between $4 million and $10 millon -- "to stop President Barack Obama's health care overhaul as it approaches a make-or-break vote in the House. Ads will begin airing on Wednesday on national cable stations. "Later in the week, the campaign shifts to 17 states home to moderate and conservative Democrats. Their votes are critical to Obama's endgame for passing legislation to expand coverage and revamp the health insurance market." The AP reports that some health insurance companies have contributed to the cost of the campaign, which is being coordinated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Other groups in the coalition include the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, and groups representing the construction and food service industries. The business groups refused to release a list of the lawmakers they are targeting" (Alonzo-Zaldivar, 3/9).
The Washington Post: The ads will run "over the next 10 days attacking President Obama's health-care reform plans, arguing that legislation under debate in Congress will be too costly for small employers and will kill jobs at a time of economic distressThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.