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Health Care: Where Does It Stand?

Editor’s note: This analysis comes from the National Business Group on Health.

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After an August of raucous town hall meetings with constituents, falling poll numbers for the President, and the death of Ted Kennedy, the leading Senator who could have brought liberal Democrats to support a compromise on health reform, Congress returns next week to face hard questions for advancing health reform.

President Obama, already back in Washington from his vacation, must decide whether to step in and take over the forging of a compromise to salvage health reform or to continue to take a back seat to Congress, remaining on the fence on key issues. We should know soon which course of action the President takes.

Next week, we will have a clearer idea of whether the Democratic Congressional leadership will:

  1. Redouble efforts to push through health reform in its current state, likely with no Republican support and with sizeable Democratic dissent;
  2. Scale back plans, possibly using a still hoped for compromise currently being negotiated by the Senate Finance Committee—though that looks increasingly questionable given recent doubts voiced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), one of the so-called gang of six negotiators—; or,
  3. Make a fresh start to forge a broadly supported, bipartisan bill by January 1st. Former Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) suggested in an op-ed piece that one such compromise would include comprehensive legal reform along with universal coverage.

Two messages from the public should be clear: Congress needs to respond to concerns about the impact of the current health reform proposals on the cost of health care and the federal deficit and concerns about who will pay for it.

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September 1, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , , ,

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