Health care by August? YES WE CAN!

By Caitlin Taylor

Jul 16, 2009 1:07pm

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports: Democrats are redoubling their efforts on health care reform. A hybrid rally/press conference on Capitol Hill with HELP Committee Democrats, fresh from the party-line passage of their health reform bill yesterday, saw the actors who portrayed Harry and Louise, now apologists for the Democrats’ plan. (Paired with the arrest of “Roe” of Roe v. Wade – Norma McCorvey – at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, its political conversion week up here). The Dems presser/rally today also saw former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who wrote a book on the need for healthcare reform and was at one time slated to be President Obama’s HHS Secretary (until tax problems derailed his nomination). Daschle led a crowd of staffers, standing behind reporters and cameras, in a call and response chant relating to whether health care reform could be passed. “Yes we can,” was the answer, which seemed more suited to a political rally than a Senate press conference. “Can we pass legislation by the first week of August before everybody goes home?” he yelled at around 11:45… “Yes we can,” was the response from the assembled staffers. Passing bills through both houses by August would set up final passage of health care reform sometime in the Fall. This boisterous support for Democrats’ bill, which includes its public health insurance option, is a bit of a switch for Daschle. Several weeks ago he stood with other former Senate Majority Leaders, including Republican Bob Dole, and said that a bipartisan bill was necessary to get a bill through Congress. Sen. Chris Dodd was leading the rally/press conference and he made a point of disagreeing with Doug Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, who said today that health care proposals currently before Congress will not lead to any sort of reduction in federal spending on health care. “We believe we have created legislation that does bend the curve,” Dodd said.

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