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Rx for Reform Needed

“If you want to win back the voters, give them the one thing they clearly understand is a win for them over the insurance companies: the option to choose a public plan,” said Darcy Burner, executive director of the American Progressive Policy Foundation, which is affiliated with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in a HuffingtonPost blog entry Monday. “Want to give the Democratic base some change they can believe in? Then give them the public option they’ve been clamoring for.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), meanwhile, signaled a more incremental approach was likely in an MSNBC interview Monday. “We need to roll up our sleeves and sit down with a basic scaled-down version of health care reform that is going to broaden access to more Americans, provide security and stability to those Americans that have insurance, and bring costs down,” she said. “We can absolutely accomplish all of those things, we are just going to have to do it in a little more incremental way.”

Under another scenario pitched by some liberals, two new bills could be created from scratch — a new reconciliation bill with all of the budget-related health items included, and a new regulatory bill that would have to be negotiated with at least one Senate Republican.

But Senate Democrats are extremely reluctant to push multiple new health care bills, which could delay final action for months.

“We need to produce a health reform bill,” said a House Democratic leadership aide. “There are different ways to go about it.”

The aide said that the House could even try multiple approaches, bringing a series of smaller, easier-to-explain bills to the House floor quickly to put pressure on Republicans.

“If they decide to get on board the populist portions of this bill, then we’ve got law,” the aide said. “If they don’t, then you have a message opportunity. Democrats are on their side.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has also been pushing the idea of passing a scaled-down health care bill that could garner Republican votes, warning that both the House and Senate measures are dead.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders from both chambers will have a face-to-face meeting this afternoon, and a way forward on health care is sure to come up.

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