Reid pledges to make health bill public, challenging GOP to release its own

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would make Democrats' health bill public once it's ready, while challenging GOP lawmakers to unveil their own legislation.

In a letter to Republicans, Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to make the final Senate health bill available to the GOP and the public before a final vote on the package.

"I assure you that I will make the legislation available to the full Senate and the American people prior to its consideration," Reid said. "There will be ample opportunity to examine and evaluate its provisions."

The majority leader said final legislative language on the bill he merged from the Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee would be available after Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring helps clarify elements of the legislation.

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"Apart from my decision to include a public option from which states may opt out, no final decisions have been made — and none can be made until we get more information about how CBO would score different combinations," Reid wrote. "In other words, there is no bill to release publicly — it does not exist."

Reid took a thinly veiled shot at Senate Republicans in the letter, wryly noting that he is looking forward to reviewing an alternative GOP proposal.

"While the two health care reform plans that are serving as the main building blocks for the merged bill have been publicly available for quite some time, I would note that the Republican leadership’s health care plan remains a secret, unless perhaps it does not exist," the Nevada Democrat wrote.

"Needless to say, I fully understand if your plan is still under development, and would not presume to suggest that you publicly share draft legislative text for even an individual element of your plan, let alone an entire bill, before it is finalized," he added, challenging Republicans to make their legislation public immediately upon completion.