The U.S. House of Representatives returns to work on Tuesday. The U.S. Senate is back in session next week, but talks between the two legislative bodies concerning health care reform continue.
House and Senate negotiators are working to hammer out the differences between their two respective health care bills.
The goal is to come up with something substantial that a majority of Democrats in the House and Senate can live withsince Republicans are nearly unanimous in their opposition to the legislation.
Both the House and Senate versions of the bill require nearly all Americans to get coverage and provide subsidies for many Americans who cannot afford it. But the details on how to achieve those two goals are different.
The sticking points negotiators have to hammer out are:
- Tax increases -- like those expected to be placed on so-called Cadillac or high cost insurance plans.
- Whether illegal immigrants should be allowed to use their own money to buy coverage in new insurance markets.
- How many people in general should be covered.
- How to restrict tax dollars from being used to fund abortions. It's an issue that pro-life Democrats in the House are watching closely. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., has threatened to block any bill that includes public funding of abortions.
President Barack Obama would like a final heath care bill approved by both houses on his desk before he delivers his State of the Union speech in the next few weeks. There are mixed opinions on Capitol Hill as to whether or not the deadline for the final version of the bill will be met.