Monday, September 24, 2007

Deadlines Loom for Health Care Legislation

In Washington D.C., where the fiscal year ends on Sunday, September 30, President George W. Bush continues to threaten a veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), while Democrats line up votes. Passage is expected in the U.S. House of Representatives early this week and in the U.S. Senate by the end of the week.

In an article for the Monday The New York Times blog, "The Caucus," journalist Carl Hulse explains why Democrats are not backing away from a showdown with the President:

Democrats like their position on this issue. They believe that the public supports making health insurance more affordable and that many families with middle-class incomes are struggling to provide coverage and care for their children. Some Republicans in both the House and Senate are expected to support the plan.

In California, compromise -- not confrontation -- is the top story. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is close to a compromise with Democratic leaders on a health care reform bill. Schwarzenegger wants to pass the bill before the end of the special legislative session. In a Sunday article outlining the financial interests of a dozen key players, Chronicle journalist Tom Chorneau comments on the surprising civility of the public debate at this late stage:

Absent from the airwaves are the attack ads from insurance companies and doctor groups that many feared would have materialized by now. Massive protests from labor unions or consumer groups intended to push the talks one direction or another have also been largely put on hold.

This should be an exciting week of twists and turns in the effort to pass health care reform legislation. Do you think the California bill or the federal SCHIP program will pass? Do you think President Bush will really veto SCHIP? Do you think the U.S. Congress will have the votes to override a presidential veto? We'd love to hear your comments.

SOURCE: "Democratic Leaders Close to Deal on Health Care Reform," Tom Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 09/23/07
SOURCE: "Congress Tackles Child Health Care," by Carl Hulse, The Caucus, Political Blogging from The New York Times, 09/24/07
photo courtesy of U.S. White House

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