Budget plans for Democrats might be gone with the win

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Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA)
Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA)
Of all the questionable forecasts in President Obama's $3.8 trillion budget for 2011, perhaps the most dubious is this: It assumes Congress will enact healthcare reform this year.

But in the wake of Republican Scott Brown's upset victory for Edward Kennedy's old seat, reform seems unlikely. That's because the race cost Democrats a filibuster-proof majority. The Senate's new composition gives Republicans a tool to delay and likely prevent pending matters they disagree with. And if there is one issue Republicans stand opposed to, it's the Democrats' plan to rewrite the nation's healthcare rules.

For long-term care providers, the budget stakes without healthcare reform are reduced considerably. The biggest casualty could be the CLASS Act, which would have ushered in discretionary payments for long-term care services.

Still, the president is soldiering on. Prior to the Super Bowl, he addressed the topic  while speaking with CBS News' Katie Couric: “I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.”

At press time, Republicans were mulling whether and how they would attend the event, which was scheduled for the last week in February.
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