Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Merging the two bills

The next step in the healthcare reform legislation path is to merge the House and Senate bills. Right before the holiday, the Senate passed their version of the legislation; the House had already passed theirs.
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Now, to merge the bills, instead of going through a conference committee, lawmakers have agreed to do what’s called “ping-pong” the bill – send the Senate bill to the House to amend and approve, and then send it back again, the Hill reports. The idea here is to avoid Republican delay tactics.

It also looks like without the formal conference committee, the House will basically be accepting much of what is in the Senate bill (and therefore not in the House bill.) For one, the Senate bill does not have a public option, and rather than a national health insurance exchange, states would create their own. For a clear breakdown of the differences between the two bills, check out this NY Times graphic.

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