In wake of reform shakeup, Senate Dems turn focus back to insurers

So, what's a Democrat to do in times like these, with the filibuster-proof 60-vote health reform edge gone overnight? Short of the votes needed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she's ready to work in any provisions from the Senate version of the bill that House members can stomach.

Some ideas seem to be set in place. Bills from both chambers already include provisions preventing insurers from medically underwriting policies or dropping coverage on beneficiaries when they get sick. Pelosi also is looking for a repeal of the health insurance industry's antitrust exemption, along with new caps on insurers that would cap their profits.

Republicans, meanwhile, have gone so far as to suggest that Congress should rebuild the reform bill from scratch. If nothing else, many Republican Senators want to put a tax on high-value ("Cadillac") plans and to scuttle extra Medicaid funding wrested out of the Senate by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. (It's worth noting that within the last 24 hours, Nelson seems to have backed away from this promised benefit.)

The middle ground seems likely to be breaking health reform legislation into a series of smaller bills breaking out some contentious issues and melding ideas from the current House and Senate bills.

Get more background on the debate:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece

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