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Daily Health Care News – 1/28/10

NEWS

Obama bucks up Democrats on health careAssociated Press

Some congressional Democrats are seizing on President Barack Obama’s fresh call for a sweeping health care overhaul as a message to show resolve and get the legislation done.

Democrats Still Waiting for Direction From Obama on Health CareRoll Call

President Barack Obama’s vague exhortations during his State of the Union that Congress should not give up on health care reform received broad support from House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday night, but Members said he did not give them a clear path forward to break the current gridlock.

Pelosi Outlines How To Get Votes In House For Reform BillCongressDaily

House Speaker Pelosi flatly predicted Wednesday afternoon she could muster enough votes to pass the Senate version of healthcare reform if the upper chamber agreed to adjust the bill through reconciliation first.

Using Reconciliation Process to Enact Health Reform Would Be Fully Consistent With Past PracticeCBPP

In the aftermath of the Massachusetts Senate election, Democratic congressional leaders must soon decide whether to use the reconciliation process to help pass health reform legislation. Reconciliation is a process set forth in the Congressional Budget Act that allows for expedited consideration of legislation affecting mandatory spending programs or taxes.

House sent Senate $300-billion reconciliation packagePolitico

House Democratic leaders have sent their Senate counterparts a package of changes to the Senate bill that would add $300 billion to the legislation’s cost, an “irrational” proposal that has Senate Democrats questioning whether the House is setting their chamber up to fail, according to a senior Democratic Senate aide.

Nancy Pelosi floats two-track health reformPolitico

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday floated the idea of a two-track plan for health care reform — with Congress pursuing easier-to-pass incremental changes now and comprehensive reform later.

VA Gov. McDonnell: Brand New Face, Same Old LiesMedia Matters

Newly inaugurated Governor Bob McDonnell was tapped by Republican Party leaders to deliver the official GOP response to President Obama’s first State of the Union address. While McDonnell’s face may be fresh, his speech repeated a slew of the same old, worn out, debunked Republican talking points.

OPINION

U. S. Chamber fronting for insurersConcord Monitor

It’s almost impossible to watch television without seeing an anti-health care reform ad paid for, at least ostensibly, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. You’ve seen them: the big red exploding balloon, the frightened workers standing in the dark and the rain.

A good speech that needs a good follow-throughEzra Klein

The build-up to tonight’s State of the Union — on this blog as well as many others — was that this was a make-or-break speech for the president. The drama of the occasion mixed with the gravity of the times implied a somber, determined address. That’s not what Obama gave. His tone, instead, was jaunty, confident, and light. He told corny jokes. He ribbed the Republicans. He invited congressional leadership to come hang at the White House. Towards the end, you expected him to say, "thanks, folks, I’ll be here all term!" and then give Joe Biden a chest bump on his way off stage.

Great Speech. Don’t Quit Now. Jon Cohn

If you follow health care reform, you probably want to know if President Obama saved health care reform with his State of the Union address. The answer is no.

Ben Nelson Planned To Filibuster Conference Report, Admits Current Law Already Prevents Public Money From Funding AbortionThink Progress

During last year’s health care debate, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) insisted on inserting specific language into the Senate health care bill that prevented public dollars from funding abortion services and asked leadership to adopt the restrictive abortion language “that might be compatible with the Stupak language in the House.” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to incorporate the House bill’s Stupak restrictions and Nelson, along with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Bob Casey (D-PA), introduced a similar amendment that withheld affordability credits from women enrolled in plans that offered abortion services. Once the Senate tabled the measure, Nelson held out his 60th vote until negotiators implemented a compromise that required women to write a separate check for abortion services.

(compiled for Health Care for America Now)

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

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