Saturday, September 05, 2009

White House ready to draft own health care bill, sources say

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House is quietly talking about drafting formal health care legislation after allowing Congress to work on its own for months, CNN has learned.

Multiple sources close to the process told CNN on Friday that while the plan is uncertain, the administration is preparing for the possibility of delivering its own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

One source called the possibility of new legislation a contingency approach if efforts by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, to craft a deal fall through.

The White House emphasized Friday that no formal bill has been written.

"The president has been reviewing all of the various legislative proposals, but no decision has been made about whether formal legislation will be presented," said Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director.

A source close to the White House said the administration is leaning toward dropping the public option, and continues to zero in on persuading Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe to come on board. Snowe has long pushed for a trigger option.

The source said the bill that would be presented to Snowe would leave out a public option but include a trigger provision that could lead to the introduction of a new government-run insurance plan under certain circumstances. The legislation would cover most, though not all, of the 46 million uninsured Americans. It would also include popular insurance reforms, such as ending the insurance industry practice of using pre-existing conditions to deny coverage.

This Democratic source also said that if the deal comes together, the key will be to successfully address the pushback from disaffected liberal legislators and congressional leaders.

President Obama took an initial step in that direction Friday afternoon, holding a conference call with some of the most liberal members of the House, who say they won't vote for a bill without a government-run insurance option.

Two congresswomen on the call said the president questioned them about how entrenched they are, even asking them to define what they mean when they call for a "robust" public option.

Read it all at

No comments:

Post a Comment