Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said he would push for a bipartisan, fully paid health reform bill by midsummer, but acknowledged that the timeline, political cooperation and overall cost makes it an ambitious goal.
Its clearly time to move, Baucus told reporters this morning in Washington. The administration is committed, the Congress is ready and Im really ready.
Still, Baucus said attempts to change the misaligned payments, sketchy quality and complex inefficiencies that are inherent in the system would be challenging.
Just last week, some Republican members of Congress hammered parts of President Barack Obamas budget that contained a $634 billion healthcare reserve fund as well as several provisions meant to trim spending under Medicare and Medicaid.
Republicans have also said that changes in the way care is delivered and paid for are needed, but break ranks with Democrats over the path to do so.
Still, Baucus said his goal would be to produce a bill that both parties could support. I think a joint bill would be good, he said. Clearly, clearly the stronger preference is to have a bill with Sen. Grassley on it.
Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the committee, has met with Baucus on a weekly basis in part to discuss the reform effort.