Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said hes aiming for roughly June 17 to begin negotiating comprehensive healthcare reform legislation in his committee.
The process will take about a week, Baucus told reporters, following remarks on comparative-effectiveness research at a meeting held at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Details on what the legislation will cost remain sketchy, although Baucus said any estimates from the Congressional Budget Office will likely be released after the committees consideration of the bill. Baucus seemed optimistic that consensus could be reached among the lawmakers on a public plan option in a comprehensive reform bill. Well find a resolution, he said.
Baucus and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) in the meantime reintroduced legislation on comparative-effectiveness research that they plan to add to comprehensive health reform legislation. The bill would essentially create a national institute to compare medical treatments and distribute findings to healthcare providers and the public.
"Patients want to know what the best outcomes are" on clinical treatments, Baucus said. "We can continue to hope that Congress appropriates scarce dollars for research, or we can put it into more solid ground by setting ground rules on how this research should be conducted. I prefer the second approach," he said.