WASHINGTON - Congress returns on Tuesday from a month-long recess to resume work on a landmark overhaul of the $2,5 trillion (R24,5tr) healthcare system that President Barack Obama has made his top domestic policy initiative.
To jump-start work on the bill, Obama plans to address Congress on Wednesday to lay out specifics of what he wants in a healthcare bill.
Three house of representatives committees and one senate committee have completed their work on a healthcare bill that the Republicans rejected.
But the focus is on the senate finance committee where Democrats are trying to craft a compromise that will draw at least some Republican support. The bills seek to make major changes to insurance industry rules, expand coverage to nearly 46 million uninsured and hold down costs, all without an increase in the federal deficit.
With the death of senator Edward Kennedy on August 25 Democrats lost a leading champion of healthcare reform who was regarded as one of the senate's foremost dealmakers, able to bring conservatives and liberals together on difficult issues.
lHouse leaders say they want to bring their health overhaul bill to a vote in September.
To do this, they must meld changes in the legislation approved by three committees. - Reuters