Janaury 20, 2010 - The Democrats were going to need all 60 votes from its caucus in the Senate for the reconciled healthcare reform bill to pass, but the election of Republican Scott Brown to fill the seat of the late Edward Kennedy (D-MA) has, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR), "complicated the next steps in the process to enact healthcare reform."
The ACR notes that while the loss of the Massachusetts seat gives the Democratic caucus only 59 votes, Congress still has options to pass the healthcare overhaul bill.
The ACR lays out these options in a recent posting on their Web site, www.acr.org.
First, the House could simply pass the Senate bill and not present a reconciled version to Senate, where getting 60 votes now appears unlikely.
Secondly, the House could pass the Senate bill now and try to pass a second bill later that includes increased excise taxes on high-end and union negotiated insurance policies.
Thirdly, a bicameral compromise could draft a final version considered under budgetary reconciliation rules. A bill considered under reconciliation rules only requires 51 votes to pass, and this could speed passage of a bill through the Senate.
For more information: www.acr.org