Tuesday, June 9, 2009
According to the Wall Street Journal, President Obama's health reform legislation could take a very different form depending on the health of ailing Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA):
If the liberal Mr. Kennedy takes a lesser role, that could make it easier for the more-conservative Mr. Baucus to push the health-care legislation in a centrist direction. Mr. Kennedy, for example, is a major proponent of including a publicly run health-insurance option as part of a plan to give all Americans coverage, while Mr. Baucus is weighing other proposals that wouldn't include such an option right away.
Mr. Kennedy's committee late last week began circulating the first draft of its proposal for sweeping changes, starting the maneuvering in earnest. The committee is scheduled to hold a "markup" -- public sessions to make final the bill's details -- in mid-June.
Following that, Mr. Kennedy's committee will engage in intensive negotiations with Mr. Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Then the Democrats must guide the bill to passage on the Senate floor.