Should the House pass the Senate healthcare bill as is, that would be the fastest way to get the measure to the president's desk, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said Wednesday.

Casey -- a centrist proponent of the Senate healthcare bill -- did not specifically endorse the plan, but said that it would be the quickest way to produce a final product as time is running short for Democrats to pass a bill.


"Having voted on Christmas Eve on the Senate bill, I happen to think that's a good piece of legislation," Casey told reporters. "That would be the most expeditious way, but I realize some don't want to do that in the House."

House Democratic leaders have been grappling with a number of alternative means to pass healthcare legislation in preparation for the possibility of Republican Scott Brown winning Tuesday's Massachusetts special Senate election. Brown -- who has promised to be the 41st GOP vote to filibuster the bill -- was declared the winner over Democrat Martha Coakley last night. 

Democrats are preparing ways to pass the bill without Brown, but leaders have ruled out pushing it through before he is certified and seated.

House leaders have reportedly discussed passing the Senate bill as is in order to curtail debate and hasten the bill's passage. Fixes to the bill could then be made in the Senate using the budget reconciliation process, which requires that only 51 senators to pass measures.

Many House liberals, however, object to a number of provisions in the Senate bill that have yet to be resolved with the House measure.

Other lawmakers and liberal activists have proposed passing the entire package using the controversial reconciliation process or by breaking up the bill into separate parts.

But Casey said that crafting a final product quickly should be of critical importance to Democrats.

"I realize that it might not play out the way I want it to but I think we are losing an opportunity if we don't pass the bill," he said. "The time now is obviously narrow."

Casey, who is anti-abortion rights, maintained that the Senate proposal does the best job of lowering the amount of abortions, even though the House bill is believed to be more restrictive in its federal funding toward abortions.

"If you're really concerned about reducing the number of abortions I believe the Senate bill is the best vehicle to do that," he said.