On Wednesday, President Obama is expected to present a revised version of his health care reform proposal and lay out a strategy for Democrats to move forward on the initiative, CQ Today reports (Wayne, CQ Today, 3/1).
The president will discuss "the merits of the legislation, mainly about the costs of doing nothing versus the cost of doing something and what this will accomplish," according to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (Calmes/Herszenhorn, New York Times, 3/2).
The proposal likely will be updated with measures endorsed by Republicans at the health reform summit last week, including those focusing on medical malpractice reform and the elimination of waste and fraud in the health system (Werner, AP/Chicago Tribune, 3/2).
According to White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs, Obama wants an "up-or-down vote" on a reform bill by the end of the month, when Congress is scheduled to break for its spring recess (CQ Today, 3/1).
Inside Health Policy reports that a Democratic memo suggests a possible strategy for passing reform by the end of the month. The strategy follows:
- The House passes the Senate reform bill by March 19 with assurances by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that his chamber can pass the following reconciliation package;
- The Senate bill is signed immediately by the President;
- The House then amends the Senate bill through the reconciliation package and passes it by March 21;
- The Senate has a maximum of 30 hours to debate the reconciliation bill, and voting on the measure begins by March 26, the first day of spring recess;
- Reid announces the Senate will stay in session until it considers all amendments on the reconciliation package; and
- A final vote follows consideration of the last amendment (Pecquet/Lotven, Inside Health Policy, 3/2).