Still No Word on a Formal Health Reform Conference
Informal, behind-the-scenes negotiations began this week to merge the House and Senate health care reform bills, Roll Call reported Monday. But there’s still been no public decision about whether representatives of each chamber will meet later in a formal conference committee, or if the final bill will be the product of more casual closed-door talks between chamber leaders.
It remains unclear whether a formal conference committee will be held to resolve those differences. With heavy input from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House expected regardless, another option is to conduct the negotiations strictly at the leadership level.
As we’ve pointed out, there’s no lack of disparities between the bills that need ironing out — including differences in each chamber’s approach to a public insurance option and abortion coverage. The decision about the conference negotiations, Roll Call reports, will be made early next month.