Congressional floor debate on health care could begin as early as October 13. That’s the goal of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
First, the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote this week (work resumes on Tuesday) on its version. The only real suspense is whether Republican Olympia Snowe (Maine) will cross over and vote for the measure. At the same time, Reid and other Senate leaders are trying to combine that proposal with elements of the one approved earlier by the House HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) committee.
Despite that HELP proposal, the House is still battling over Medicare reimbursement rates, trying to trim $200 billion from the cost of the bill and the final shape of the public option.
This is becoming the defining issue of the year. Immigration was pushed back early, there doesn’t appear to be the support for EFCA and most are now conceding that cap and trade will have to wait until when, and if, the health care debate is settled.
The drama, particularly when the issue hits the floor, will continue; the results are unknown.