Julie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey
March 19, 2010
In their attempt to pass a sweeping health care overhaul this weekend, House Democrats are pushing a package of legislative fixes to lure undecided or opposed members of their party to the “yes” category.
Proposed changes to the Senate-passed health care bill include a scaled-back tax on high-cost health insurance plans – a provision that is widely unpopular with House Democrats – and more money to help states pay for an expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor and disabled. The new measure, called a reconciliation bill, also would take additional steps to close a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage and to help low- and middle-income Americans purchase health insurance through new insurance exchanges.
If approved by the House, which is scheduled to vote Sunday, the package would be considered in the Senate under a process that would require just 51 votes for passage rather than the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster. President Barack Obama has postponed a scheduled trip to Asia to be in town to help persuade wavering Democrats to vote for the bill.