You’d have to have been buried in ice at the bottom of a dark moon crater not to know that health care legislation has been winding its way through Congress. But the constant news coverage of every new twist and turn can tend to obscure the process of how any bill becomes law—if it does—and when. If the U.S. Senate is only just now beginning debate on a health care bill, what has been going on all these months?
The debate shaping up in Congress this month may be the most critical legislative action on health care in the United States since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s. But forms of this same debate over issues of health care began in Congress in the spring of 2009, entered the public arena mostly during the summer, and have continued into the fall. All five of the major legislative committees with responsibilities for health care in both houses passed some form of health care overhaul.
Now the all senators and representatives will have the chance to weigh in, and to vote. If bills are passed in each house, then Senate and House legislators must meet in a conference committee to negotiate how to combine their legislation into one final bill. President Obama has pushed the Democratic – controlled Congress to deliver a health care reform bill to his desk to sign by the end of the year. It still remains to be seen, however, whether a health care bill will be a health care law in 2009.
- Health Care Debate Headed to Senate Floor
This article covers the vote that brought the health care bill (H.R. 3590??) to the floor of the Senate; it includes a link to a pdf of the 2,074 – page bill and discusses similarities and differences with the bill passed by the House of Representatives on November 7.
(Source: CNN, November 21, 2009)
- Divided Senate Poised to Start Health Care Debate
This article updates the status of pending legislation on health care under consideration by the U.S. Senate.
(Source: Associated Press, November 30, 2009)
- Health Care Reform Timeline
This time line reviews the progress of legislation related to health care reform during 2009—month by month with links to news articles at every step of the way.
(Source: Independence Blue Cross; accessed November 30, 2009)