The final health bill to pass Congress will have to hew closely to the Senate's version to be successful, a top Democrat warned Sunday.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, suggested that if the health bill were made to more closely resemble the House's bill, it would jeopardize Democrats' ability to get 60 votes in the Senate.
"I think any bill is going to have to be very close to what the Senate has passed, because we're still going to have to get 60 votes," Conrad said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "And anyone who has watched this process has seen how challenging it is to get 60 votes."
The Senate bill differs from the House version in several key ways, not least of which is its exclusion of a public option of any kind, whereas the House version has a full government-run plan. The Senate bill also opts for a basket of taxes, including a tax on high-value insurance plans, while the House bill relies on an income tax for millionaires.
There will be a conference between the House and Senate to resolve some differences between the bill, though momentum seems to lie behind the Senate bill staying intact.
"It is very clear that the final pill to pass in the United States is going to have to be very close to the bill that's been negotiated here," said Conrad.