Dems near accord on health care bill

Reconciliation on the Table

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House and congressional leaders are preparing a detailed health care proposal designed to win passage without Republican support if GOP lawmakers fail to embrace bipartisan compromises at President Barack Obama’s summit next week. A senior White House official said Thursday that Democratic negotiators are resolving final differences in House and Senate health bills that passed last year with virtually no Republican help. The White House plans to post the proposals online by Monday morning, three days ahead of the Feb. 25 summit, which GOP leaders are approaching warily.

The comments signal that Obama and Congress’ Democratic leaders still plan to use assertive and sometimes controversial parliamentary powers to enact a far-reaching health care bill if no GOP lawmakers get on board.

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Senate support growing for public option via reconciliation
It began two days ago as a four-senator campaign urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., to tap the budget reconciliation process to create a public health insurance plan that would compete against private companies. Now 16 upper-chamber Democrats have signed their names in support of that strategy, according to boldprogressives.org, a liberal group that launched the campaign.

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