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What Colorado’s Senators Are Contributing to the “Freshman Package”


michael_bennet_71President Barack Obama met with Senate Democrats in Congress over the weekend in hopes of securing every one of their votes to pass “historic” health-care-reform legislation as promised. He didn’t take questions or set a timetable. He didn’t propose how the party should deal with divisive issues, such as covering abortion and the so-called public option (via The Christian Science Monitor).

And though a lot remains to be worked out, it seems health-care reform might survive, as fundamental divisions among lawmakers soften.

Tomorrow, a group of 11 first-term Dems, including Colorado’s two U.S. senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, will introduce a “freshman package” of more than a dozen amendments that aim to lower the costs of providing health care to Americans, according to The Denver Post.

Udall, Mark_Standing OutdoorsOne amendment, contributed by Bennet (right), aims to take on “coding” of patient data to promote a better flow of electronic information among insurers, hospitals, doctors, and others, tackling an issue that is a “real pain point for doctors,” Bennet says. A proposal by Udall (left) would expand the role of the Medicare Advisory Board.

The package comes as Senators Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, look for solutions that focus less on covering the uninsured and more on increasing efficiency of the expensive health-care system to make it more affordable.

Lieberman, as The Wall Street Journal points out, can’t be disregarded by Democrats: He is crucial to the party if it wants to obtain the 60 votes necessary to thwart Republican filibusters.

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