With the election of Scott Brown and the loss of the 60th Senate seat, Democrats were considering possible ways that their health reform proposal could pass and be sent to the President for signing.
The easiest possible way would be for the House to simply adopt the Senate bill and send it to the President with no changes.
Pelosi says No!
After meeting with her caucus yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put a swift end to that possibility. She told reporters that the House will not accept the health care reform proposal approved by the Senate.
In order for the procedure to work, the bill would have to be passed by the House exactly as it was passed by the Senate with no changes.
Speaker Pelosi said “In its present form, without any changes, I don’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate bill in the House…I don’t see the votes for it at this time.”
Differences separate the 2 bills
There are several conceptual differences between the 2 bills and the ones that seem to cause the House members the most trouble are
- the subsidies that would be offered to uninsured individuals are deemed by many House members to be insufficient
- the 40% excise tax on high value health insurance plans
Union leaders had already indicated strong opposition to this provision in the Senate bill and had won some concessions on the issue.
Read about the agreement with the union leaders here
Entitlements promised to specific Senators outraged some House members
Perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of the Senate bill are some of the entitlements that were promised to certain Senators to win their vote. Speaker Pelosi discussed one of the entitlements which particularly upset members of the House.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb) had given his yes vote only after the Senate promised to pay Nebraska’s full increase for Medicaid payments under the bill.
Other Senators won entitlements to get their votes but paying for all of Nebraska’s Medicaid simply could not be stomached by the House.
White House chooses cautionary approach
President Obama would still like health care reform but seems to favor a more cautious path. According to Robert Gibbs, a White House spokesman, the President believes that the best approach would “allow the dust to settle and then find the best path forward.”
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