Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has taken action to move a Medicare reform bill directly to the Senate floor. The bill, approved by the House by a veto-proof margin of 355-59, would avert a Medicare pay cut to physicians and make other adjustments to the program.
Reid invoked a rule that would allow the bill to bypass the Senate Finance Committee and get on the calendar for Senate consideration. The bill could be considered as soon as Thursday.
The House legislation is based on a Medicare reform bill from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). According to a Baucus aide, Baucus and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, had met to re-evaluate their options on a Medicare compromise in light of the House vote.
Finance Committee member Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told reporters he hoped the Senate would consider the House bill. Its time to stop playing games and get legislation approved, he said. -- by Jennifer Lubell