Dems In Conflict On Health Reform Options, McCain Defends GOP ‘End Of Life’ Claims
On the Sunday talk shows, lawmakers disputed how the Democrats should proceed on health overhaul legislation.
The Associated Press: "Some lawmakers have suggested that a separate bill with changes that are supported by Republicans and Democrats would be one route toward progress on the health care overhaul. But a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, says he doesn't see how lawmakers could get two health care bills through Congress and coordinate them well." Conrad spoke on CBS' "Face The Nation" (8/23).
Politico: "Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is signaling that he's nearly ready to give up on bipartisan health care reform talks in favor of options that could be pursued solely by Democrats. On NBC's 'Meet the Press' Sunday, Schumer made three separate mentions of trying to push a health care bill through the Senate with all 60 Democratic votes, regardless of whether Republicans are on board. 'We could get a public option that could be passed with the 60 democratic votes we have,' Schumer said."
"Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who joined Schumer on the show, said Democrats should not try to use reconciliation to force through a bill which could not overcome a filibuster in the Senate. 'If they use that, that would be an abuse of the process,' Hatch said" (Gerstein, 8/23).
Related KHN story: Democrats' Strategy To Avoid Filibuster Carries Serious Risks
The Associated Press in a separate story: "Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama will have to drop proposals for a government-run health insurance option if he hopes to reach congressional agreement on health-care reform ... The Arizona Republican proposed that Obama meet with members of both parties in Congress to find areas of agreement, abandon the public option, and then make clear exactly what he wants in the legislation. McCain appeared on ABC's "This Week" (8/23).
ABC News: "In his first comments on Sarah Palin's "death panel" claims, John McCain is standing by his former running mate. Sort of..."
He doesn't like the phrase 'death panels,' but he defended the substance of Palin's charge, saying the Democrats have only themselves to blame for the controversy."
"STEPHANOPOULOS: The bill, all it said was that, if a patient wanted to have a Medicare consultation about end-of-life issues, they could have it at their request and the doctor would get reimbursed for it, no panel
MCCAIN: There was a provision in the bill that talks about a board that would decide the most effective measures to provide health care for people, OK? Now, we had amendments, we Republican(s) have said that in no way would that affect the decisions that the patients would make and their families. That was rejected by the Democrats and the health committee.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's not a death panel.
MCCAIN: So what does what does that lead to? Doesn't that lead to a possibility, at least opens the door to a possibility of rationing and decisions made such are made in other countries?" (Stephanopoulos, 8/23).