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Sunday, November 8, 2009

ObamaCare Battle Now Moves to the U.S. Senate

The scene of battle over ObamaCare now shifts to the U.S. Senate following passage of a Health Care Bill in the House of Representatives last night by a 220-215 margin. ObamaCare still has a long way to go to enactment. The Senate must now pass a bill, and if successful, a Conference Committee must then reconcile the two bills to come up with a bill for final passage - which must be approved in the Senate and the House. It would then go to the President's desk for signing into law.

On the question of what happens now in the Senate, and in a Conference Committee if the Senate passes a bill, it won't be smooth sailing:

Attention will now shift back to the Senate. If the Senate acts, negotiations to iron out differences between the two chambers could be wrenching. Among the toughest issues: whether the public option should include an "opt out" clause for states, as Reid has proposed; whether to require employers to provide coverage to their workers or take the less punitive approach preferred by Senate moderates; and whether to tax the rich or tax high-cost health-care policies, as the Senate proposed -- a provision economists call the most important provisions in either bill for reining in costs.

In his lunchtime speech to House Democrats, Obama did not touch on any of those issues. But he acknowledged the anxiety felt by lawmakers who watched independent voters abandon Democratic candidates in Virginia and New Jersey in Tuesday's elections, and he warned that voting down the most significant legislation of his young presidency would only complicate the party's political future.

"If you think the Republicans are not going to go after you if you vote no," the president said, according to several people present, "think again." . . . MORE


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