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Baucus Lays Out Ambitious Schedule on Health Reform

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Thursday laid out an ambitious schedule for writing health care legislation and bringing it to a floor vote as he seeks to meet President Barack Obama’s demand that Congress approve a major health care overhaul by year’s end.

According to a Democratic Senate aide, Baucus announced during a close-door meeting of the Finance Committee earlier Thursday that three roundtable discussions would be held to address the different policy components expected to be dealt with in the legislation.

The roundtable to discuss how to overhaul the health care delivery system is scheduled for late April, the one addressing the issue of insurance coverage is scheduled for May, and the roundtable to figure out how to pay for health care reform is scheduled for late May.

The bill markup is set to occur in June and the legislation is set to hit the Senate floor in July. Baucus is scheduled on Friday to have lunch with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to talk strategy. Kennedy, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is a key player on health care.

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