Senior Dem: Kill the Senate health reform bill and start over

The Senate's healthcare bill is fatally flawed, a senior Democrat atop a powerful committee said on Wednesday.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee and co-chairwoman of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said that the Senate's bill is so flawed that it's unlikely to be resolved in conference with the bill to have passed the House.

"The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago," Slaughter wrote in an opinion piece for CNN's website.

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Slaughter argued that while the House bill is far from perfect, the Senate bill's exclusion of a public option, along with abortion funding restrictions and other measures, make the bill undeserving of a vote.

Specifically, Slaughter said, the Senate bill would charge seniors higher premiums, would fail to nix health insurers' antitrust exemption and would not go far enough in extending coverage to people in the U.S.

"Supporters of the weak Senate bill say 'just pass it — any bill is better than no bill,' " Slaughter wrote. "I strongly disagree — a conference report is unlikely to sufficiently bridge the gap between these two very different bills."

The New York Democrat also sounded a note similar to what Republicans have said (though for different reasons): Scrap the current healthcare bill, and start over.

"It's time that we draw the line on this weak bill and ask the Senate to go back to the drawing board," she said. "The American people deserve at least that."

Update, 2:54 p.m.: A Senate Republican aide chimed in on Slaughter: "Unfortunately for moderate Democrats, all the sweetheart deals in the world couldn’t help you win an election when voters from across the political spectrum hate you because of your support for this disastrous bill."