There've been some developments on the healthcare front and there are going to be a lot more coming fast and furious in the near future, so it seemed time to kick of the next iteration of the perpetual healthcare thread.
For those of you just joining us: The House has three committees who have jurisdiction over healthcare, all three of which worked together and passed nearly identical bills months ago. The Senate has two committees involved; HELP, a more liberal committee that passed a bill before the summer recess, and Finance, a more conservative committee that just finally passed a bill recently.
Since the last thread closed: The Senate has been working to combine the bills in closed door meetings between Reid, Sen Harkin (from HELP, representing the 30 odd progressive Democrats), Baucus (from Finance, representing the 10-15 conservative Dems), and a few members of the White House Team in a hands off roll. Things are moving extremely well there, with Snowe (the one Republican vote that has been courted) being shunted off a bit, the public option becoming a matter of what kind not will it exist at all, and brand new and fantastic, insruance companies being stripped of their antitrust exemption
On the House side Pelosi has been coming out absolutely full bore in favor of a robust public option
. She's up to 210 of the 218 votes she needs for a robust public option, and she submitted a request to the CBO to get the various options fully scored out, hoping for a big saving from the public option to push the last few votes she needs off the fence.
From here we need to wait and see how Pelosi's play works out and just what exactly the Senate brings to the floor out of this first round of closed door negotiations. That should likely play out within the next two weeks, at which point the House will vote relatively and the Senate will drag a fair bit as the republicans have explicitly planned to do everything possible to drag out the proceedings. There are almost certainly enough votes to break a filibuster and pass a bill, so after another couple weeks of foot dragging both chambers will have bills, at which point everything goes into a closed door reconciliation with representatives of the House, Senate, and White House. Ideally we'll see final deal and a bill up for a vote before mid-December.