Dems say final health bill may resemble Senate package

Two House and Senate leaders said Sunday that the final healthcare reform bill may resemble the Senate bill more than the House bill when it emerges from conference.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Commitee (DSCC) Chairman Robert Menendez (N.J.) echoed the calls of other Democratic senators who said that their bill will trump the House's bill after the two are merged.

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"If we are going to have a final law it's going look more like the Senate version than the House version," he said, but conceded that lawmakers will make "some compromises" during negotiations. 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said that House negotiators will not "rubber stamp" the Senate bill but that "we recognize the reality of the Senate."

The Maryland Democrat, however, said that items in the Senate bill like the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health insurance plans "treat individuals unfairly" and said that "it's not clear" how divergent language on abortion between the two bills will be resolved.

Van Hollen's words come as other House Democrats have said they will put up a hard fight to include key pieces of the House bill in the final overhaul package.

House and Senate negotiators are expected to meet next month to begin the merger process.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a senior Democrat, said that House liberals will put up a tough fight to maintain the public option. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) went so far as to say the Senate bill is fatally flawed and called on lawmakers to kill the bill and start over.

The House bill includes a public health insurance option and a surtax on people making over $500,00o per year. The Senate bill does not have a government-run plan and features a excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans. 


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