Obama wants health reform process accelerated

President Obama is putting the hammer down on Congress to deliver a health reform bill. The president wants a bill fast-tracked through the House and Senate and on his desk prior to February's State of the Union address, the Associated Press reports.

At a meeting Tuesday, Obama, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, came to the conclusion that the House will simply amend the Senate's version of the bill, then send it back to the Senate for a final approval. That would mean bypassing any formal conference committees to resolve differences, according to the AP

Currently, the House and Senate versions have differing details on several fronts, chief among them being who would be taxed and whether or not illegal immigrants would have access to any of the coverage. 

Republicans have criticized the process, calling for more transparency, and alluding to a formal request by C-SPAN to make the final talks public. 

For more information:
- here's the Associated Press article via the Washington Post