Health Reform Faces Tougher Battle in Senate

A very different health bill enters a sharply divided Senate
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2009 6:48 AM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday,Nov. 3,2009, following the weekly caucus luncheons.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – "That was easy," Nancy Pelosi quipped after health care reform squeaked through the House; viewed from the other side of the Capitol, this is no joke. As the action shifts to the Senate, Harry Reid has a tough hand to play. The GOP minority wields more power in the Senate, and Reid can't afford to lose a single member of his caucus, the New York Times reports.

Reid will "have to go through all sorts of contortions," to court Dem skeptics like Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, a spokesman said. The Senate bill has key differences from its House counterpart, Bloomberg reports:

  • The Senate would tax insurers on deluxe benefit plans to fund health reform, while the House would levy a surtax on the wealthiest Americans;
  • The House bill has an employer mandate, whereas the Senate bill charges large employers of low-income workers a fee;
  • The public option, opposed by the Senate finance committee, may not make it into the final version of the bill.