House Now Ground Zero in Health-Care Fight
By Ben Pershing
Most times, regardless of which party is in control of Congress, the dynamic between the two chambers on major bills is the same -- in the House, the majority just rams a bill through, and then the real action and intrigue take place in the Senate. But this week, at least, the House is Ground Zero in the health-care fight, as Senate Democrats have already punted the issue into September while House Democrats struggle to reach consensus within their own ranks.
"When I take this bill to the floor, it will win," Nancy Pelosi said on CNN, without being more specific about the "when" part. At least some Democrats in her chamber would rather not vote before recess unless the Senate Finance Committee does first, and that panel's prospects for a deal remain unclear. President Obama plans more health-care events this week, hoping to keep the pressure on lawmakers as their month-long recess beckons. "August is both a peril and an opportunity," Rahm Emanuel said last week, and the House's actions in the coming days will help determine which of those two descriptions proves apt.
On Saturday, House Democrats got some bad news from the Congressional Budget Office, which found that a proposal for an independent panel designed to rein in Medicare spending would only save $2 billion over 10 years. But then the CBO delivered some rare good news Sunday, judging that the House reform plan would actually increase the number of people who get employer-provided health insurance. This week, the idea du jour for raising money is taxing the most generous, or "gold-plated," health care plans.
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