The head of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday lauded the passage of companion budget blueprints from the House and Senate, calling them a major step in the expected overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.
Healthcare reform is an investment in Americas system that will reduce costs over time, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a written statement. This budget recognizes that investment by allowing health reform to be paid for in the long run and that flexibility is essential to making health reform work.
After a slew of votes and hours of debate, the Senate passed its version of the budget by a 55-43 vote. Earlier, the House had approved its blueprint in a 233-196 vote. Both budgets adhere closely to the $3.5 trillion spending plan hatched by the White House.
Both budgets call for a special reserve fund that would package together a number of initiatives to change how healthcare is delivered and paid for across the U.S. But certain differences between the two have caused acrimony between the congressional chambers.