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A swifter pass for health care reform

Steve Henn Apr 21, 2009
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A swifter pass for health care reform

Steve Henn Apr 21, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Lawmakers are also huddling about health care reform this week. They’re working out what might sound like a niggling little procedural issue. Marketplace’s Steve Henn says
don’t be fooled — the future of health care may be at stake.


Steve Henn: Normally to get a bill through the Senate, you need 60 votes out of a hundred. But there’s an exception: if health care legislation is coupled with changes in how the country raises and spends money in a so-called budget reconciliation, then 51 votes will pass it.

Democrats like that idea:

Stan Collender: The real thing to understand is that Washington works on process, and the process very often determines outcome.

Stan Collender follows budget shenanigans for Quorvis consulting. He says the scope of what can be done to reform health care depends on how many votes you need to pass it.

Collender: If reconciliation is not used I’d give health care no more than a 25 percent chance of happening. If it is used, its 75 percent or higher.

That’s right, a procedural debate might just determine the outcome of health care reform. If health care legislation yet to be written only needs 51 votes to sail through the Senate, the Democrats can dictate the outcome. And not surprisingly, some Republicans are crying foul.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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