Lawmakers Inch Closer To Healthcare Reform

07.31.09 | FL News Team

(Washington, DC) -- The Democratic-controlled Congress is inching closer to healthcare reform, but the finish line is not yet in sight.  A key House committee plans to complete work on complex healthcare reform legislation today, joining two other House panels that have finished different portions of the massive measure.  The House begins a month-long summer break next week.

Senators will be in session next week before embarking on their August recess and intense negotiations over healthcare reform will continue in the Senate Finance Committee.  The Senate Health Committee previously finished work on a reform bill.  All this activity is leading toward a frenetic finish in the fall as Democrats try to push through a sweeping and expensive reform of the nation's complex healthcare system.  

President Obama is investing enormous political capital on health reform, insisting that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.  Obama has also linked healthcare reform to overall economic recovery.  Some estimates put the pricetag of healthcare reform at around a trillion dollars.

Republican opponents call it outrageously expensive.  Supporters argue that doing nothing will end up costing the nation more.  Many Democrats insist that a government-run "public option" must be included to boost competition and keep health insurance companies honest.  Republicans accuse Democrats of aiming to initiate a "government takeover" of healthcare reform.