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Senate leader: Health-care reform by year’s end will be tough – MedCity Morning Read, Nov. 11, 2009

Senate Democratic leaders said Tuesday they hope to bring a health-care reform bill to the floor next week, but meeting President Barack Obama’s end-of-the-year deadline will be difficult, Reuters reported. The new goal is to get the bill out of the Senate this year, according to the Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Democratic leaders said Tuesday they hope to bring a health-care reform bill to the floor next week, but meeting President Barack Obama’s end-of-the-year deadline will be difficult, Reuters reported.

“Our goal is to make sure it is out of the Senate this year,” Sen. Dick Durbin said, according to Reuters. If that happens, reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill would take place in January. Each chamber would then have to pass the merged legislation before the president could sign it into law, Reuters said.

That assessment from Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, came as former President Bill Clinton met with Senate Democrats to discuss the bill, CNN reported.

“Whatever their differences are, I just urged them to resolve their differences and pass a bill,” Clinton said, according to CNN. “I also believe, you know, people hired us to come to work in places like this to solve problems and stand up and do it.”

Senate Democrats need 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is “searching for an approach” to reach that goal, Reuters said. But it’s not easy.

Some Democrats are opposed to Reid’s push for a government-run public insurance program. Others are upset about the fact that, in its vote Saturday, the House adopted “a provision tightening restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” Reuters reported.

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