Although the situation in a state of flux, the push for health reform of some sort is still on. In an interview with Politico newspaper this afternoon, Speaker Pelosi said that, “We have to get it done. What the process is doesn’t matter. The outcome is what is important, and what it means to working families in America.”
The idea of passing a comprehensive amendment via reconciliation in order to make the Senate bill palatable to the House is still very much alive. While some House Democratic leaders predict that they may be able to garner enough votes to pass the Senate healthcare overhaul bill through the House (contingent upon changes), Speaker Pelosi herself last night told reporters that "At this time, in this form, there aren't the votes in the House, not anywhere near, to pass the Senate bill.”
Meanwhile, the 80-member National Coalition on Health Care announced this afternoon that they are launching a campaign to promote this approach. The coalition’s CEO Ralph Neas said that President Obama and Congress should immediately resume negotiations, and then the Senate should use reconciliation to pass "corrections" - therefore only needing a simple majority.
Be it “corrections” to the Senate bill, or stand alone measures, an increasing number of Senate Democrats have voiced strong reservations about using the reconciliation process. (They include seven Democrats and one independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman)
Although the President is not expected to focus on health care in tonight’s State of the Union Address, we can expect that this issue will remain a top priority for both the White House and the Congress.