Individual and Family Health Insurance
Students Health Insurance
Children Health Insurance
Medicare Plans
Business Health Insurance
Group Health Insurance
Health Insurance Help

Affordable Health Insurance

as easy as: GET QUOTES
COMPARE PLANS, over 500 plans to choose from
Individual and Family Plans
Child Only Plans - Ages 0-18
Senior Medicare Plans - Ages 65+
Dental Insurance
Group Health Insurance
Enter Zip code     

« California's budget d… | Back to News List | There is a generation… »

Democrats are planning to bypass Republicans on healthcare reform

04 08 09 - 11:57

Democrats May Bypass Republicans on Health Plan, Schumer Says
By James Rowley - Bloomberg

Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Democrats may decide to pass a U.S. health-care overhaul without Republican support if some opposition lawmakers don’t agree to a plan by mid-September, Senator Charles Schumer said.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus set a Sept. 15 deadline for getting a bipartisan agreement among six senators on the panel who are negotiating a deal.

“If we cannot produce a bipartisan solution by then, you have to wonder if the Republicans would ever be willing to agree to anything,” Schumer said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. “We will enact health-care reform by the end of the year. If the Republicans are not able to produce an agreement, we will have contingencies in play.”

Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said the group of six senators will discuss an exact date this week. “We’ve got to have some kind of stopping point here,” he said.

Schumer said Democrats may invoke the practice of “reconciliation,” which requires only 51 votes for Senate passage. The Democrats control 60 votes, enough to quash Republican efforts to block action on the bill. Party leaders can’t rely on all 60 because of the illnesses of two senators, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

The reconciliation procedure “is clearly one of the contingencies on the table,” said Schumer, a member of the finance panel.

Millions of Uninsured

The House and Senate are debating plans to expand health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans while reining in soaring costs. Three House panels and one in the Senate have passed measures.

The Senate Finance Committee, which has struggled with negotiations, has until the end of this week to reach a bipartisan agreement before the Senate goes on a monthlong recess. Baucus said last week the panel won’t take a vote before the break.

During yesterday’s conference call, Schumer and Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, also accused Senate Republican leaders of trying to obstruct a health-care plan.

“We have seen a handful of brave Republicans who want to see successful reform committed to work through tough issues,” Menendez said. “Every time we make a breakthrough, the Republican leadership cracks the whip, it stalls the process.”

“Why hang us up on another deadline?” said Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of three Republicans negotiating with Baucus and two other Democrats on a bipartisan plan. “Whether it’s Sept. 15 or another date, it should be immaterial when we are making progress.”

‘False Sense’

Snowe said the earlier deadlines for Congress to act “gave a false sense we could wrap our arms around this and drive it through.” The public “got nervous and rightfully so,” she said.

Another of the three Republicans, Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, said in a statement he won’t agree to an “artificial deadline.”

“We’re making progress, but we still have several significant, outstanding items to work on,” said Enzi, who added that he was unaware any deadline had been set. “I won’t be moved by partisan threats to misuse the budget-reconciliation process.” Republican Charles Grassley also is taking part in the bipartisan negotiations.

At Enzi’s request for more time, Baucus agreed to continue the negotiations until September, postponing any committee vote on the legislation until after Congress returns from its August break.

‘Party-Line Bill’

“Nobody in the Democrat leadership has signed on to any bipartisan approach,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, said in an e-mail. “They support the party-line bill” approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “But none of them have supported the proposals coming out of the finance committee -- in fact they’ve shot them down,” Stewart said.

Early last month, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid urged Baucus to find alternatives to taxing employer-provided health- care benefits, according to an aide close to the talks who declined to be identified discussing the private negotiations.

Reid “has reached out daily to Republicans,” by “making it clear over and over” that he “wants bipartisanship and is willing to walk the extra mile for it,” Schumer said. Grassley, Enzi and Snowe “are still talking. We hope that is not the ceiling” of Republican support, Schumer said. “We hope that’s the floor.”

Schumer said Democrats are determined to send a health-care overhaul measure to President Barack Obama for his signature by year’s end “no matter what happens.”

Democrats run a risk that major features of the legislation would drop off if they invoke the reconciliation procedure approved in the budget resolution Congress passed earlier this year.

Under that procedure, Republicans could object to any provision they argue isn’t relevant to cutting spending. It could only be considered if Democrats can muster 60 votes to overcome the objection. Schumer said pursuing budget reconciliation or other options to pass the legislation would “only be considered as a last resort.”

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in Washington at




Corporate Family Health Insurance Quotes Business Health Insurance Quotes Senior Health Insurance Quotes
About Us
Contact Us
Legal Terms & Licenses
Site Map
Individual & Family Quotes
Child Health Insurance Quotes
Students Health Insurance
Short-term Health Insurance
Dental Insurance Quotes
Business Health Insurance Quotes
Group Health Insurance Quotes
Group Dental Insurance Quotes
Group Vision Insurance Quotes
Medicare Supplement Quotes
Medicare Advantage Quotes
Senior Dental Insurance Quotes
Prescription Drug Plans / Part D
Health Insurance Companies Health Insurance Plans


Anthem Blue Cross
Blue Shield of California
Health Net
Health Net - Farm Bureau
Kaiser Permanente
United Healthcare-PacifiCare


Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
Kaiser Permanente
Rocky Mountain Health Plans


Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
Health Plan of Nevada, Inc.
Sierra Health and Life Insurance Company, Inc.
United Healthcare-PacifiCare
California Health Insurance Plans
Colorado Health Insurance Plans
Nevada Health Insurance Plans
Health Insurance Resources International Health & Life Insurance
Health Insurance Brochures
Health Insurance Companies in:
California, Colorado, Nevada
Health Insurance Glossary
Healthy Families Program
Access for Infants and Mothers
Health Center
Health Insurance News
Online Support
International Health & Life Glossary
Major Medical & Term Life
International Student Health Insurance
Travel Insurance
Group Travel Insurance
Frequent Traveler Insurance
MultiNational Accident Plan
International Term Life
MultiNational Group Benefit

web developed and powered by noble technologies