“We haven't resolved all of the issues, but we're getting closer,” Waxman said of his meeting between the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats and other lawmakers, acknowledging that “we've not yet agreed” on the provisions of a public option, and whether the option should be based on Medicare rates.
In addition, the committee needs to see fresh estimates from the Congressional Budget Office on how much the bill would cost, Waxman told reporters.
Waxman believes the establishment of an independent Medicare advisory council, one of the issues in negotiations with Blue Dogs and the White House, “will be a game-changer that will hold down costs for the future.”
Some committee members have misgivings about the independent council. “It isn't a breakthrough,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the committee's ranking member, adding that such an approach wouldn't be good public policy, or control costs.
Others are pessimistic about the bill getting through the House before August recess. “I don't believe the votes are on the floor right now” to approve the bill, said Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Blue Dog co-chair for policy.
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