WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama hopes to get his health care reform bill through the House by March 18, his advisers said yesterday.
But getting the bill through the Senate using the budget reconciliation process would take longer, said Robert Gibbs, presidential press secretary.
At the same time, the White House enters the home stretch on getting health care reform legislation through Congress with support from state insurance regulators. After a meeting at the White House, members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners backed a controversial proposal that would provide a federal backstop to states that now lack authority to force insurers to roll back large increases in health premiums.
In comments to reporters, Gibbs said the President hopes the House will act before he leaves for Indonesia and Australia March 18.
“I believe that, based on conversations that I’ve had in the building, that we’re on schedule to get this through the House by then,” he said.
The House bill will be the bill passed by the Senate, H.R. 3590.
Gibbs also said the public will be able to see the legislation “before it’s voted on. They’ll be able to evaluate what’s in it for them.”
After meeting with the president and Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, NAIC regulators said that they would support a provision in the President’s proposed bill that would give state regulators with no authority to challenge health insurance rate increases the power to do so.