Congress Prepares to Debate Health Care

November 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
House lawmakers could take up health care reform as soon as Friday and decide on their final version of a bill. The house's health care reform bill may be put up for debate as early as Friday. House Democrats are working out last-minute details. The bill would include a government-run health insurance option, something Republicans and some conservative Democrats oppose. House Republicans are raising the stakes, saying if the public option is so good then lawmakers should use it as their own.

"If it is good enough for the American people it is also good enough for Congress," said Rep. Joe Wilson (R) South Carolina.

"I will add an additional amendment that says the President and his family, the President and his cabinet, the president and all of his czars; certainly the Secretary of Health and Human Services all should be on the public plan," said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) Georgia.

Republicans pushed their own reform measures but they say they were shot down by the house democratic leadership.

Last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) argued the bill pushed by the democrats reflects the best interests of the public. "We have listened to the American people. We are putting forth a bill that reflects our best values and addresses our greatest challenges."

On the Senate side, democratic leaders are working on their final version but getting enough members on board may be a challenge, which could cause delay in opening up the debate on the floor.

"We're going to do it just as quickly as we can," said Senator Harry Reid (D) Nevada.

House leaders pledged a 72-hour review before bringing the bill to the full chamber. So the debate could begin Friday or Saturday.

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