The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will release the full legislative text of its bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system this afternoon, with meetings scheduled with GOP members Wednesday, a hearing slated for Friday and deeper negotiations on tap for June 16 and several weeks after. That timeline coincides with one set by the Senate Finance Committee, which expects to begin legislative negotiations around June 17.
But the bill omits several key-but-controversial initiatives, including language that would define a public health plan option and another that would direct employers to either offer coverage or pay a new tax instead.
So were on a very aggressive schedule, I realize that, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), who has helmed the HELP committee in the absence of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), told reporters this morning. But this is the single most important domestic issue that we got to grapple with. And we got to get going on it.
Dodd calls the bills introductionpart of which was leaked late last weeka first step in the process, adding that there will be further opportunities to shape it in coming weeks.
Both HELP and the finance committee expect to blend their two versions of a bill together before bringing it to the Senate floor for a vote.