Still in shock seeing the Senate seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy now in Republican hands, the White House is considering scaling back the health care bill. Exactly what that leaves is questionable. If something like that could pass is doubtful.
President cites 2 specific goals
President Obama spoke to ABC News yesterday and indicated that he might be willing to accept a scaled down version of health care reform if it contained 2 provisions. The goals he cited were
- Controlling insurance industry practices that hurt consumers, and
- Controlling the cost of health care
President Obama noted that insurance companies have taken advantage of consumers. Without some cost containment, he said “ all our budgets could blow up.”
However, the President also told ABC News that he feared a scaled down version of the bill which included restrictions on health insurance companies could make health insurance truly unaffordable.
Some Republicans suggest compromises
Some Republicans in Congress have hinted that a compromise bill could include such features as banning the practice of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, financial aid for small business owners and possibly even some restriction on medical malpractice suits.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) indicated her willingness to return to the concept of developing a truly bi-partisan bill rather than trying to push through parts of the current proposal.
Senior Republicans, however, like Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appear unwilling to offer much compromise. When asked if health care reform was dead, Mr. McConnell response was “I sure hope so.”
Democrats seem uncertain as to their next step
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tried to put health care in a new prospective, telling reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference that health care was not as important as jobs and fixing the economy.
Sen. Reid noted that the Massachusetts election had “changed the math in the Senate.”
Brown will be seated before a vote
One thing the President did make clear was that there would be no procedural shenanigans trying to push a vote before Scott Brown is sworn in. The President said that the voters of Massachusetts had made their choice and Mr. Blown had to be a part of the legislative process.
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