NEWS

Democrats ponder health care tweaks to appease HouseAssociated Press

Seeking to salvage a health care overhaul, congressional leaders are considering a plan to pass the Senate bill with some changes to accommodate House Democrats, senior Democratic aides said yesterday.

U.S. Chamber Dwarfs Other Groups For Health Care LobbyingNational Journal

The top-spending groups on health care reform generally spent about as much lobbying last year as they did in 2008 — with one notable exception. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce stood out not only for consistently outspending other groups, but also for nearly doubling its lobbying spending over the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2009 alone, the group’s outflows easily topped the amount spent by any other group all year.

Congressional Frustration With Obama Mounts Over Health Care ImpasseHuffington Post

Frustration is mounting among Capitol Hill Democrats over what they say is the White House’s lack of direction in how to resolve a potentially crippling impasse in health care reform negotiations.

Reform progress unlikely by SOTU Politico

Senate Democratic leaders said Monday that they don’t expect to have a decision on how to move forward with health care reform in time for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday.

Which way through the minefield?Politico

Democrats have precious few options left to pass health care reform — and one of their top choices is drawing fire from some of their biggest supporters, complicating an already tough situation.

Liberal Groups Urge Congress to Revive Public OptionNew York Times

To save their big health care legislation, the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress are considering a hardball procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation to adopt a health measure despite losing their 60-seat super majority in the Senate.

Markup Set To Seek Info On Health Bill DealsCongressDaily

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up a Republican resolution Wednesday that would force the White House to bring to light information on backroom deals it made with certain healthcare industries to gain support for …

Nelson: National exchange a dealbreakerPolitico

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Monday that he would oppose any health care reform bill with a national insurance exchange, which he described as a dealbreaker.

OPINION

MEMO: The way forward on health care reform in 2010Steve Benen

About 16 years ago, William Kristol crafted a lengthy strategy memo for congressional Republicans, advising them on how best to deal with then-President Clinton’s health care reform initiative. At the time, a variety of Republican offices had every intention of presenting alternative reform plans — in part to help shape the debate, and in part to demonstrate the GOP’s interest in addressing a chronic national problem.

Obama Wants Reform. Is He Fighting for It? Jon Cohn

Health care reform may not be finished after all. Despite the political reverberations of last week’s special election in Massachusetts, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are still discussing ways of passing a comprehensive reform bill.

Health Insurance Reform Remains Critical to Economic Growth Chairman George Miller

A lot of things may have changed in light of the Massachusetts special election upset Tuesday, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the health insurance crisis in America. We must address this crisis.

Meaningful reform will require courageValerie Arkoosh

Doctors can empathize with the president and Congress right now. Treating a relentless disease can be enormously frustrating, and sometimes we may feel tempted to give up and walk away. But just as doctors stay with their patients, Congress and the president must stay with their patient, the American public, by keeping their commitment to strong health-care reform.

Poll Confirms Massachusetts Election Was Not A Rejection Of Health Care ReformThink Progress

Following the surprise victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) in last week’s special election, conservatives have attempted to paint the election as a rejection of healthcare reform and progressive policies more generally.

Pass the Bill Now, Continued Harold Pollack

There was one problem with our expert letter—or at least with how it was received. The House cannot move until the Senate does its part to address critically important problems in the current Senate bill. Before the Massachusetts election sidetracked public attention, House, Senate, and White House negotiators actually worked out many of these difficulties: the need to make insurance more affordable, tightening the structure of insurance exchanges, addressing union concerns over the taxation of costly health plans. Not every accommodation would move the final bill leftward. The House bill included (to my mind deeply unfair and extreme) restrictions on the financing of abortion services that must be addressed, too.

Can the reconciliation sidecar move quickly?David Waldman

Yes.

A lot of the worries I hear expressed about using a reconciliation "sidecar" (I like that term!) to fix the Senate health insurance reform bill center around the time people imagine it might take to get such a bill in shape and moved to the floor. We all watched the hearings and markups drag on and on the first time the House and Senate worked out their initial bills, and it’s just not something we want to go through again.

(compiled for Health Care for America Now)

Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.