House and Senate Continue to Work on Health Care

Progress is being made, but August recess looms ahead.

Published on: Aug 3, 2009

Debate by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a Health Care plan continued through Friday and the plan is starting to take shape. The body has voted to establish a government-run health insurance plan. A section of the plan that would create a public health insurance option was eliminated. When the full House would receive the bill and vote is not clear.

 

Meanwhile on the Senate side work continues but Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., says they are being rushed and that deadlines should be irrelevant; getting the legislation done right should be the focus and it just can't be done by next weekend when the August recess begins.

 

Three Democratic and three Republican negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee say they are making significant progress in crafting a $900 billion bill that would provide coverage to 95% of Americans. But they acknowledged for the first time that they will not have a full-committee legislative markup until after Labor Day.

 

According to a Senate aide, Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, told Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., that he wants talks to continue until the bill is complete, no matter how long that process takes. Earlier Grassley had supported efforts to establish a schedule for committee action, but as the legislation began to take form last month, he opposed a strict timetable.