KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hatch Backs Out Of Health Reform Talks, Pelosi Says She Has Votes

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters Wednesday that he is "officially stepping away from health care negotiating table," FoxNews reports. "Hatch had been part of a bipartisan group of seven members trying to hash out a health care reform compromise. 'I told Max it would probably be better if I didn't come,' Hatch told reporters, recounting his concern for the overall cost of the $1 trillion bill, an employer mandate for coverage which the senator said will hurt low income individuals, and a possible expansion of Medicaid beyond what many beleaguered states, mired in the fiscal mud, will be able to absorb. 'I don't want to mislead anyone, so I figured it was best for me to stand aside,' Hatch said" (Turner, 7/22).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in the meantime, says she has the votes to pass reform on the floor, Reuters reports.

Pelosi said on Wednesday "lawmakers were making great progress on a healthcare overhaul and there was 'no question' there were enough House votes to pass the bill," Reuters reported.

Dow Jones: "When asked if the House would vote on the measure next week, Ms. Pelosi (D., Calif.) told reporters 'that is what our intention is. We are going in a forward direction, we are on course, we are pleased with the progress that has been made,' Ms. Pelosi said" (Yoest, 7/22).

Politico: "Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) spent another day negotiating with moderate Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition to break a deadlock that has forced him to suspend consideration of the bill. The two sides have a tentative agreement to grant more authority to an outside body for cutting health care costs under Medicare. On Wednesday, Pelosi said she agrees, in principle, with the proposal, but she wants to make sure it would "respect the prerogatives" of Congress, meaning her vision could differ significantly from the Blue Dogs" (O'Connor, 7/22).

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