This week, the health care debate shifts to the Senate, where the Finance Committee examines a bill by Max Baucus. The Democratic senator from Montana worked closely with Republicans to craft his bill – but none of them stood with Baucus when he unveiled his plan.
KPCC’s Washington Correspondent Kitty Felde says Senate Democrats may need to worry more about House Democrats than Republicans in the Senate.
Kitty Felde: The Senate and the House bills forbid denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Both have money for wellness programs and student loans for doctors and nurses. But the Senate doesn’t include a public health insurance option.
Xavier Becerra: I’m going to fight to the death for a public option.
Felde: L.A. Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra says senators drive a hard bargain when they sit down with House members to reconcile differences in bills – but the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus says this time will be different.
Becerra: I believe that you’re going to find that the House will stand up for its position. Firmly. Because while we may not look like we have as much clout as a hundred senators do, when 435 voices could come together – or a majority of those 435 – that’s pretty powerful. It is, at the end of the day, the people’s house.
Felde: The showdown between the House and Senate won’t happen until both have passed their health care bills.