Health Care Reform by Reconciliation if Necessary

On Friday, there was news that health care reform is going to be subject to a process called budget reconciliation to get through congress. What this means is that if a health reform package is not agreed to by October 15th, only a simple majority will be required to pass one. Therefore, reform will not be subject obstruction by filibuster. This greatly increases the chances that major health care reform can happen this year.

Obama Tactic Shields Health Care Bill From a Filibuster

Published: April 24, 2009

WASHINGTON — At the prodding of the White House, Democratic Congressional leaders have agreed to pursue a plan that would protect major health care legislation from Republican opposition by shielding it from last-minute Senate filibusters.

The aggressive approach reflects the big political claim that President Obama is staking on health care, and with it his willingness to face Republican wrath in order to guarantee that the Democrats, with their substantial majority in the Senate, could not be thwarted by minority tactics.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times briefly expresses his support for this process on his blog. Steve Benen takes note of it in the Washington Monthly blog Political Animal.

Also this week, the nation’s largest health insurer, WellPoint, began making automated calls to customers on the health care debate. While I hesitate to say this is definitively a good thing or a bad thing, you can certainly color me very skeptical. After all, the influence of business in the financial services industry certainly created a wonderful mess there.

Big health insurer’s calls to members draws criticism | Sacramento Bee.

Published: Friday, Apr. 24, 2009

WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurer, has launched what could be the start of a campaign for the hearts and minds of the American public as the country prepares for debates over reshaping its much-maligned health care system.

The company, which operates in California as Anthem Blue Cross, made 3 million computer-generated phone calls last week to gauge the public’s appetite for overhauling health care – and to enlist, critics say, a grass-roots army to voice concerns about the sweeping proposals developing on Capitol Hill.

“This was our first step,” said WellPoint spokeswoman Cheryl Leamon. “Obviously, the debate over health care reform is heating up.”

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