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The Daily Dose « The Washington Independent

Here’s a quick wrap-up of today’s health care news.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), President Obama’s one-time nominee for commerce secretary, is now positioning himself as a roadblock to Democratic efforts to pass health care reform using the budget reconciliation process, which requires just 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. In an interview with The Hill, Gregg promised a “very contentious” fight if Democrats go that route, and suggested Republicans could offer hundreds of points-of-order objections to a bill, each requiring 60 votes to overcome.

Ezra Klein has started a “Gang of Six Death Watch,” after Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) appeared to float the possibility that the group of Senate Finance Committee members negotiating a bill may ultimately fail to reach a deal that would receive broad bipartisan report. Still, Baucus predicted a health reform package would be passed by the end of the year.

Fellow Gang of Sixer Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), meanwhile, still seems hell-bent on blocking Democratic priorities. During a conference call with reporters today, Grassley offered a wordy clue into his thinking:

“There’s a feeling that the only way to get a bipartisan agreement is to defeat a Democratic proposal on the first hand and then the Democrats will come to Republican leadership and then, at that point, they’ll know the only way they’re going to get health care reform is bipartisan.”

Yesterday, Grassley insisted that a government-run insurance option to compete with private insurers was “something not on the table.”

Don’t tell that to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who said Monday that any bill that did not include a “strong public option” would not pass the House.

Finally, to the surprise of no one, the wacky health care-related quote of the day goes to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), speaking at a fundraiser for a free-market think tank in Colorado. Drumroll please.

“This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”

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