July 29, 2009

Dems, Reps Try To Agree On Healthcare Reform

Republican and Democratic senators could be nearing an agreement on a new healthcare reform bill, according to Republican Senator Charles Grassley.

Grassley is one of three Republicans who sit on the Senate Finance Committee, which is currently discussing the future of the healthcare bill.

"Will we get it done so we can get a bill to the other members by this weekend because there is a certain time you've got to give people to study it? We're on the edge, and almost there," Grassley told National Public Radio in an interview on Wednesday.

The House and Senate will fall short of the August timetable set by President Obama before the recess, but Grassley argued that they "wanted to do it right."

"We reached an agreement on a couple of very key points," said Democratic Senator Max Baucus.

On Tuesday, lawmakers on the six-member Senate Finance Committee said that although they may not reach the August 7 deadline, bipartisan talks were nearing an agreement on how to revamp the healthcare system in order to supply coverage for 46 million uninsured Americans.

The committee has been targeting a bill that would focus on the use of nonprofit cooperatives to compete with private insurers, rather than the public plan proposed by President Obama.

On Wednesday, Republican Representative Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, said he is providing GOP candidates with opposition research about what Democrats have said and how they have voted on health care reform.

"We are going to hold them accountable for every vote they took in those committees that empowered Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama's plan for a government takeover of the healthcare system," Sessions told Politico.

"While Republicans focus on killing health care reform and trying to score political points, Democrats are focused on ending the status quo where insurance companies make health care decisions and instead providing families with greater choice, lower costs and a higher quality of health care," countered Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Sessions mentioned that the issue would add more ammunition for the NRCC during the 2010 election season.