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Obama's New Crusade: Healthcare

Stimulus? Check. Bank strategy? Check. Obama keeps crossing off the large, complicated issues on his checklist, but the next item might give him pause: Healthcare. Following the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for secretary of health, Obama's healthcare summit kicks off tomorrow. But some of healthcare policy's biggest players may sit this one out. Hillary Clinton—who, some argue, botched universal healthcare for her husband in the 90's—is focused on her new job as Secretary of State and is unlikely to participate in this new iteration of the healthcare debate. Likewise, Senator Ted Kennedy, though reportedly working on healthcare legislation from his own sickbed, seems an unlikely candidate for heavy lifting at this point. Obama has, however, put forth broad plans for securing health cover for all Americans and for maintaining the employer's role in the American insurance system. As for the votes, the Obama Administration is reportedly considering a tactic that would allow them to get the healthcare and energy bills through on 50 Senate votes only—the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process, a controversial method for passing policy proposals that would likely make Republicans—and even some Democrats—uncomfortable.