In light of Republican Scott Brown’s defeat of Democrat Martha Coakley for the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, Democrats in both houses of Congress are considering trying to pass health care reform in smaller bills rather than one large bill.
During his campaign, Brown publicly opposed President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan. Democrats interpreted his win as a consensus against reform as offered by Congress.
Kaiser Health News has a round-up of stories from several news sources.
“Unease would be a gentle word in terms of the attitude of my colleagues toward certain provisions of the Senate bill,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told NPR.
House Minority Leader John Boehner said, “Listen, our goal is to stop this monstrosity. And we’re working with our members so that we don’t find ourselves in a position where they’re able to pick off a few of our members and to get this bill passed.”
During an ABC News interview last week, the president implied that he may try to push through popular features of the health care reform bill separately, but a health policy expert doesn’t think this strategy will work, either. “Each one of those pieces has barbs attached to it,” Jeff Goldsmith told NPR. “You can say that health insurance reforms are really very popular across a broad spectrum, but then when you put them in — you know, like eliminating pre-existing conditions or lifetime caps — not only do you not have the health plans at the table, but [opponents] are going to come at you hammer and tongs.”
The current health care reform bill would cut Medicare, despite reports that doctors are reducing Medicare patient loads or dropping Medicare altogether. Groups like the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the American Nurses Association endorse the health care reform bill.