WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Senate Democrats resume efforts to merge health care bills

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats are set to resume closed door negotiations today to finalize a health care reform bill with the aim of sending it to the full Senate this week.

The White House and lawmakers are trying to blend five House and Senate committee versions of health care reform legislation into a bill that will pass both houses. Near unanimous Republican opposition is expected.

In the Senate, the focus is on bills from the Finance Committee and the health committee. The health committee's plan includes a public option, while the finance committee's does not.

House Democrats are insisting on the government-run plan, or public option.

Top White House advisers say President Barack Obama still believes a government-run health care option would best meet his goals, but he's not demanding that it be included.

Needing 60 votes to block a filibuster, Senate Democrats are considering other possibilities, including allowing states to opt out of the public option.

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