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Ted Kennedy's Coming Health Care Plan

Back in April, Max Baucus, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and Ted Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, sent a letter to Barack Obama outlining their legislative timetable:

Since our committees share jurisdiction over health care reform legislation in the Senate, we have jointly laid out an aggressive schedule to accomplish our goal. Both committees plan to mark-up legislation in early June. Our intention is for that legislation to be very similar, and to reflect a shared approach to reform, so that the measures that our two committees report can be quickly merged into a single bill for consideration on the Senate floor.

The Finance Committee's legislation won't emerge till sometime in June. But the HELP Committee appears to be stepping out in front, with draft legislation likely to drop next week or the week after. Indeed, there's already a draft summary of the draft legislation, with Ceci Connolly describes here.

I don't want to get too deep into the details of the draft because various congressional sources tell me the legislation is changing on a minute-to-minute basis. When the final document arrives, I'll summarize it. But the leaked draft does have some strategic implications. Namely, it looks like the left edge of the possible. Huge Medicaid expansion, robust public plan, employer contribution, etc. And it is no accident that it's being released before the Finance Committee's bill: The hope is, in the first place, to push the Finance Committee's bill to the left, and in the second place, to push the merged bill to the left. This will be the legislation, in other words, that liberals build their strategy around.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 29, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Could the national-level Democrats finally be grasping the concept of the Overton window? I don't get my hopes up too soon...

Posted by: BigTunaTim | May 29, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

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