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July 24, 2009

Healthcare reform and budget reconcilliation

The leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid sketched out a couple of targets today. He said the Senate Finance Committee would come up with its overhaul plan before the Senate begins its monthlong break in about two weeks. Reid said he would then hammer out a combined bill from that and the bill already passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The failure to meet Obama’s deadline for pre-recess action on Senate and House bills doesn’t represent a fatal blow to his overhaul goals. But generating momentum toward a target can be crucial in Washington. [WSJ]

Obama wanted the Senate to be done by mid-August in order to preserve the option of achieving healthcare reform through budget reconciliation, right?

Some Democrats hoped to circumvent a filibuster by inserting healthcare-related language into the budget when first and last budget resolutions are reconciled.

If we're not getting a bill until the fall, does that mean the Democrats have given up on the idea of passing healthcare reform with 50 votes?


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I think it's stalled a little because a proposal of this magnitude needs to be a slam dunk. The bill must be as near to flawless as possible to prevent later legal challenges and every vote counts, even those above the critical majority.

If the Senate was "done" in mid-August, why would you need reconciliation? Not trying to be glib, I really don't understand what you're asking.

By "done," I mean that the Senate Democrats would have written up a bill that they were prepared to pass by inserting the language into the budget when the House and Senate versions of the budget are reconciled.

Well if the Finance committee finishes up before the recess, theres no reason a bill won't be there when they come back.

That answers my question. Thanks.


"If we're not getting a bill until the fall, does that mean the Democrats have given up on the idea of passing healthcare reform with 50 votes?"

Reconcilliation can't be invoked until mid-October (the 15th I think), so if you're going to go through that process, you're talking about mid-November as the earliest point you'd be likely to get a bill out of the Senate. Maybe early November.

You put too much trust in the competency of the Obama people, not to mention Congress. Here from the Wall Street Journal.

>>After [White House budget director Peter Orszag's] TV appearances, he went straight to the Senate Finance Committee, where he spent three hours with committee aides brainstorming about how to pay for the trillion-dollar legislation. At one point, they flipped through the tax code, looking for ideas.<<

Like cramming the night before an Organic Chemistry exam. Can't be pulled off. You should pray that this proposal healthcare bill goes down in flames. Let them scrap it and start again next year.

Daniel -

The House bill:

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- House Democrats plan to fund the broadest U.S. health-care expansion in four decades by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, imposing a surtax of 5.4 percent on couples with more than $1 million in income.

The legislation unveiled yesterday would place additional taxes on households with more than $350,000 a year in income and calls for further increases if the measure doesn’t hit a target for cost savings. The provisions are intended to raise $544 billion over 10 years.

House leaders said the plan, which includes mandates to purchase coverage and a public health-insurance option, would cover 97 percent of Americans by 2019. President Barack Obama praised their work, saying it will “begin the process of fixing what’s broken” in the system.

How much will a 5.4% surtax on incomes over $1,000,000 save, anyway?

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