Dems See Progress in WH Healthcare Talks

Urged by the president, congressional Dems feel closer to healthcare compromise...

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Urged by the president during an eight-hour meeting at the White House Wednesday, congressional Dems feel closer to healthcare compromise. From The Washington Post

In their first face-to-face talks on merging health bills in the Senate and House of Representatives, Democratic leaders worked through differences on how to pay for the overhaul, how to structure new insurance exchanges and a host of other issues.

In a joint statement afterward, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Obama said they were "encouraged and energized" by the discussions.

"Today we made significant progress in bridging the remaining gaps between the two health insurance reform bills," the statement said.

Still there is much division on just how to pay for the reform

But the two chambers have clashed on how to pay for the changes, with House Democrats and labor unions in sharp opposition to a Senate tax on high-cost insurance plans that Obama has endorsed.

Critics say the tax will hit middle-class families and union members who gave up higher wages for better health benefits. House-Senate negotiators are considering raising the threshold for the tax and exempting certain industries.

...

With public opinion polls showing majorities opposed to the healthcare overhaul, Republicans said on Wednesday they were confident they could still block final passage.

"This healthcare bill can be defeated," Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, told reporters.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM