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On Wednesday June 17 the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee began the public drafting of legislation that will overhaul the national health care system. This process will be a top priority for both sides of the Capitol for at least the next six weeks, if not longer. Democrat Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut took lead over the health committee proceedings earlier in June when his close friend Senator Edward M. Kennedy became to ill due to his battle against brain cancer.

In his opening statement, Senator Dodd described how the bills will have a huge affect on all Americans and that all Americans should be entitled to enjoy good health. Senior Republican Senator Michael E. Enzi of Wyoming used his opening statement to criticize Democrats by saying their legislation efforts are a “wasted opportunity” since the committee should be trying to produce legislation that would reflect a broad consensus. Enzi also said that Democrats are rushing health care reforms along too quickly to do a good job.

Some of the main issues being discussed by the Senate concerning the reform are cost, the new public insurance plan which would compete with the private market and whether employers must provide health care for their employees.

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