There are already four different bills reported out by House and Senate committees, with one more expected to come from the powerful Senate Finance Committee in the next few weeks. The main House legislation, H.R. 3200, the America's Affordable Health Choices Act, has been amended in different ways by the three House committees of jurisdiction. I recently wrote an article in the Tennessean saying that I would not vote for H.R. 3200 as currently drafted.
No one knows yet exactly what the bill will look like that the House will vote on, probably in September, but it will probably be another version of H.R. 3200. We still have a long way to go in the legislative process because, assuming the House passes legislation, and the Senate does as well, then the differences between those two bills will have to be worked out before final votes in the House and Senate.
As a member of the fiscally conservative group, the Blue Dog Democrats, I have been working to see that health reform legislation is affordable, as the President has requested. My preferred approach, the Healthy Americans Act, H.R. 1321, is bipartisan, reduces the deficit, and reduces the cost of health care over time. Unfortunately, House and Senate leaders have not allowed it to be seriously considered although it seems to meet all the President's goals. Although this bill does not contain a "public option," I can support one as long as it is on a level playing field. There are many ways to define a public option and Congress should be able to approve one that keeps insurance companies honest without putting them out of business.