Just as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Democrats unveiled a 615-page bill in preparation for a scheduled June 16 markup by the panel, Senate Republicans mobilized by elevating the issue of process in health overhaul debate.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag moved to nip budding GOP assertions that a Democratic health overhaul plan will explode the federal budget, insisting that any plan endorsed by President Obama will have to pass muster with "an appropriately skeptical" Congressional Budget Office.
The Senate Finance Committee's version of health care legislation, to be revealed next week, will include some form of a public plan and is likely to call for a system of government-organized insurance "co-operatives" across the country, Chairman Max Baucus said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats strongly want a government-run insurance plan to be part of any health care overhaul, while top House Republicans said they are unalterably opposed to such a public component.
As Congress debates how to rein in cost and at the same time improve quality in the nation's health care system, top executives from nine health provider organizations endorsed a set of ideas tied to coordinated care for patients that they predicted could save the Medicare system some $500 to $600 billion in 10 years.