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Baucus, Kennedy United on Legislative Time Frame

April 21, 2009
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In a letter sent to President Barack Obama, two architects of an effort to reshape the U.S. health care system pledged to deliver legislation by early June.

“Our intention is for that legislation to be very similar and to reflect a shared approach to reform, so that the measures that our two committees report can be quickly merged into a single bill,” according to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.

Both lawmakers have publicly stated their timelines to deliver on health care legislation before, and they share jurisdiction over the $2.5 trillion-a-year industry. But seldom has their pledge been so public or united.

This week, Baucus’ committee will begin a series of roundtable discussions with health care stakeholders, followed by a series of legislative “walk-throughs” of initiatives that will be considered for a final bill. Kennedy’s committee has for months been meeting with providers, payers and consumer advocates behind closed doors as a means to shape future legislation.

While few details were released—or expected—the two chairmen said that comprehensive reform would “contain costs, improve quality, enhance disease prevention and provide coverage to all Americans.”

Filed by Matthew DoBias of Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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