Emerging late in the day after another eight-hour, closed-door meeting, members of the Senate Finance Committee reiterated the importance of healthcare reform, added that there has been movement on some of the thornier issues, but stated clearly that more work needs to be done to meet a fast-approaching, mid-June deadline.
Committee members and their staff met for a third and final walkthrough session, where a number of potential ways to finance the massive effort to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system were discussed.
Earlier sessions focused on delivery-system reform and coverage options.
This go-around, several of the proposals centered on wholesale changes to the federal tax code, including ones that would raise money from the sale of soda and alcohol and use the resulting revenue to help defray the cost of care.
Talking to reporters, committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said that even some of the more controversial options remain open.
Nobody likes raising revenue in any way, he said, adding nothings nudged off the table. Were looking at it all.
Baucus said that there has been agreement on a number of tenets to a healthcare reform bill, including changes to how care is delivered and the need for greatly expanded coverage.
Leaving the committee room, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said the meeting proved a very thoughtful process, but added, no decisions yet.