US Health care reform: on to Senate floor after finance committee
The Senate finance committee seems ready to approve its health care bill this week, bringing Democrats a step closer to sweeping changes in the nation’s health care system. The final bill will represent much of what committee chairman Max Baucus proposed. Democrats still face challenges in combining two Senate and three House proposals, but broad outlines of the likely bill are coming into focus. It would provide subsidised benefits for millions of currently uninsured people, and government would use its muscle to slow growth in national health spending - even if a government insurance option favoured by liberals isn’t in the final bill. Senate Democrats will try to secure the 60 votes needed to overcome unrestricted debate a final bill, despite Republicans opposition. After raucous constituency meetings during the summer, many Democrats returned determined to progress on health care. They gained encouragement from Obama’s speech on 9 September. As a result, the committee is expected to approve its bill this week, after receiving cost estimates from the congressional budget office. The core of its centrist proposal, developed in bipartisan talks, remains intact.