“Health care reform has already passed the Senate by a 60 vote super majority. If the comprehensive health care bill passes the House, the ‘clean-up’ reconciliation could be passed through the Senate with an up or down vote. I am waiting to see the wording of the reconciliation before voting. I am well aware of the more than 100,000 Alaskans who are without health insurance and the rising costs for those who do.”
Reported earlier today, the Senator is open to using reconciliation for health reform. From a letter to a constituent:
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform.
The reconciliation process is a budgetary tool used to address spending and deficit issues with a simple majority vote. The budget reconciliation process has been used 22 times by both parties since 1980. Action to clean up the health reform bill will further reduce the deficit.
Comprehensive health care reform has already passed the Senate with 60 votes. If the House passes the Senate bill, the President could sign that version of comprehensive reform into law. I believe reconciliation would only be used as a tool to take out special backroom deals and to eliminate concerns raised by many Alaskans I’ve talked with. The President has proposed narrow changes which I support, including completely closing the coverage gap for seniors’ prescription drugs, eliminating the special Nebraska funding provision, providing additional federal financing to all states to help pay for the expansion of Medicaid, and strengthening the Medicare waste, fraud, and abuse provisions.
Again, thank you for contacting me. As the 111th Congress moves forward, please continue to be in touch with your thoughts and concerns.
That makes 50 Senators publicly open to using reconciliation to finish health reform without any maybes. There will be a reconciliation fix to the Senate health bill, as long as the House first passes one.