As the drum beat on healthcare has gotten a little louder this week – I decided to try to get an answer as to why from a senior aide involved in the negotiations.

We know the likely scenario on how a bill moves --- and I’ll repeat it here (below) --- but I’ll also include the hang-up on a way forward. It’s totally UNCLEAR if they can get an agreement. There is a very high hurdle in front of them w/ NO deadline for getting this done (dangerous). And Scott Brown -- the newest Republican -- arrives in the Senate today, underlining just how difficult the task will be.

This aide did say to expect Obama & others to become more and more prescriptive on the path forward. This is the only way they’ll get together here – and even then, it might not work (acc to the aide).

THE VIABLE PATH FORWARD

1.) House passes Senate healthcare bill.

2.) House Dem ldrs w/ Ways & Means Cmte Chr Rangel write a reconciliation bill w/ the “fixes” that directly affect the budget (Caddy tax; subsidy increases, etc). This is what gets HOUSE DEMS on board. This process has begun.

THE HANG UP

What do you do about the stuff that must be fixed to get House Dem support – but DO NOT directly affect the budget (you run into huge problems w/ reconciliation rules if you try only to write policy w/o affecting the budget): abortion, immigration, etc. ???

That’s what no one has an answer to just yet.

SO ----- we wait.