Senate veers toward healthcare bill that pleases no one
A bipartisan group of six senators worked Tuesday to hammer out a deal. But both parties worry that they will find the final product unacceptable.
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Responding to reports that the Finance committee may abandon a public option in favor of insurance cooperatives, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio said that "there is no real evidence we can put together a cooperative, scale it up, and make it work on a national level."Skip to next paragraph
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"They should keep working on a bipartisan plan but they ought to have a fallback, if they can't get Republicans on, that will command the support of majority of Democrats," said Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, who favors a public option.
"If you asked me to give you a definition of what cooperatives are, I couldn't," he added.
House action stalls as Democrats feud
On the House side, the challenge is to overcome deep rifts in Democratic ranks. In a bid to rally support within their caucus, House Democratic leaders set up a marathon, five-hour tutorial this week to talk members through details of the vast draft bill.
The House Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Labor Committee have completed work on their bills. But conservative Democrats in the Energy and Commerce panel want to rein in the cost of the bill.
“[The Democratic] caucus is a diverse caucus. Sooner or later, the other views needed to be considered,” says Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) of North Dakota, a member of the conservative Blue Dog caucus. “Had more of an effort been made to take these concerns seriously at an earlier point, the bill would be a better product.”