Senate HELP Committee To Release Reform Bill Within Days

Democrats on Capitol Hill plan to introduce the first draft of legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system next week.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is nearly ready to unveil the bill that Democrats have been piecing together for months, two senior Democrats on the committee told reporters Wednesday.

“I think you’ll be able to see it probably next week or so,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
“We’re going to show you a bill that we’ll go forward with — with the full understanding that that’s only one step in the process,” said Sen. Chris Dodd.

Dodd and Mikulski offered their progress report just hours after President Obama weighed in heavily on the details of healthcare reform in a letter to HELP Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, lending the clout of his office to the debate and spelling out his parameters for the bill.

The senators revealed little about what their bill will contain other than to tell reporters that committee members were reviewing plans to promote preventive medicine and health information technology, as well as the means to extend coverage to all Americans.

The legislation will certainly include a federally run public plan that would provide health benefits in competition with private insurance.

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