The healthcare reform roller coaster

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This week and next will largely determine the fate of healthcare reform. Of course, we in the media have been offering variations on that theme a lot during the past year.

Can the House pass what's pending? That, of course, is the $1 trillion (or so) question. It's still hard to know, but even though the head-counting drill may be getting old, the passions among Americans regarding the bill aren't.

For reform supporters, there is still the belief that any kind of change beats none at all. Of course, this crowd is still trying to recover from that January surprise—when Republican Scott Brown won a Senate seat in Massachusetts and single-handedly changed the political chess match in Washington.

For those who dislike it (and many a reader has expressed such a view), healthcare reform is like a very bitter pill that the government is forcing down their throats. (To check out some of our readers' opinions, go to the comments section under our healthcare reform story today.)

I'll say this: I give the president and Congress kudos for their persistence. They are not accepting defeat, despite numerous setbacks, or the potential political consequences. 

The latest rabbit in the Democrats' hat is a plan to push the massive Senate bill through the House without a direct vote. The maneuver would allow House Democrats to vote on a rule for debate that would deem the bill approved once a smaller package of fixes also had passed.

This tactic doesn't say much about Democrats' faith that Congress can pass a bill by a traditional vote. Not surprisingly, it has drawn widespread criticism from Republicans as an attempt to circumvent the usual legislation process (which, let's be honest, it is).

President Obama, meanwhile, is still trying to round up votes from wavering Democrats. He is hoping for final action by Easter break.

So the drama continues—and likely will build until the proverbial buzzer sounds.

Unfortunately (and this is the last time I'll say this), the clock is running out on any real chance for healthcare reform's passage.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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