Uphill Battles For Lawmakers As Intensity Picks Up On Health Bill NegotiationsPolitico: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi is telling her caucus not to believe stories that the House will simply roll over and accept the Senate's hard-fought health care bill." But as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is tasked with holding together his 60 votes to pass reform, Pelosi "may not have a choice."
"The public option is out. Employer mandates could prove too tough to change. And the president has already taken the Senate's side in the fight over a tax on high-end health care plans." Pelosi instead is "setting her sights on achievable goals" such as higher insurance subsidies, greater insurer oversight and the establishment of a national exchange. But, "to win (the fight over a proposed tax on high-cost insurance plans) - or any other - she needs to convince Obama her math is tougher than Harry Reid's" (O'Connor and Budoff Brown, 1/9).
Roll Call: "Health care negotiations in Congress will pick up steam next week, as the House returns for legislative work and Members become more engaged in exploring the compromises necessary to enact a bill this year." And, although the Senate remains in recess until after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, leaders, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), are expected back in Washington by midweek. "(An) aide said the thrust has been on trying to see what House liberals will accept from the less ambitious Senate bill, but that a certain amount of moaning and groaning from the House is expected before any final deal emerges." House members believe they have more "leverage than Senate Democrats think," Roll Call reports, particularly after the backlash against Sens. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman for "their roles holding up the health care bill for major concessions" (Pierce and Dennis, 1/9). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.