Senate Hits Brakes on Health Care

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2009 9:35 AM CDT
Christopher Dodd holds up a stack of documents comprising the health care reform bill as Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee ranking Republican Mike Enz looks on.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Would-be health care reformers had a bad day yesterday, hitting a series of obstacles that makes hitting President Obama’s August deadline increasingly unlikely, Politico reports. The Senate Finance Committee said it wouldn’t have a package before the July 4 recess, and the Congressional Budget Office slapped a $1.3 trillion price tag on Ted Kennedy’s version of the bill, far more than most senators are comfortable with.

At the same time, Kennedy’s committee met for a markup session that broke hard along partisan lines. “The bill is so flawed that it cannot be fixed. We need to start over” declared Lamar Alexander. But fellow Republican Pat Roberts was more optimistic: “We have tried to say let’s slow the process down,” said the finance committee member. “Now the CBO has come in and sort of reined us in, saying ‘Here is the real world.’”