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Dodd Hopes HELP Will Wrap Up Health Care Markup This Week

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said Tuesday morning that he expects the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to finish marking up its health care reform bill by week’s end, although he was vague on when language on a major component of the measure would be available.Dodd, managing HELP in the absence of Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), was unclear as to when the details of a government-run insurance option — likely to be included in the panel’s final health care reform package — would be complete and ready for consideration. Dodd said part of the delay is due to the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has yet to provide a score for various public plan ideas under discussion.“We had a good day yesterday, we’ll work into this evening, tomorrow evening if necessary, Thursday evening as well,” Dodd told reporters during a Capitol Hill news conference, before heading into day six of the HELP Committee's markup of its health care reform bill.Regarding the government-run insurance option, Dodd added that there are “various variations of proposals. And getting CBO numbers on the variations is what we’re trying to do.”The HELP and Senate Finance panels are continuing on separate tracks on health care reform, with the plan being to merge each committee’s piece of legislation into a single floor vehicle. The Finance Committee, originally set to begin marking up its bill this week, is now likely to begin that process after the July Fourth recess.President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to deliver a health care reform bill no later than Oct. 15.

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