Political Primer on Healthcare Reconciliation

What it is – How it Works

By Staff Reporters

Several ME-P readers have contacted us for a definition of the term “reconciliation” and what it means in the current political debates and the recent Healthcare Summit in Washington, DC.


According to Wikipedia, Reconciliation is a legislative process intended to allow consideration of a contentious budget bill without the threat of filibuster. Introduced in 1974, reconciliation limits debate and amendment, and therefore favors the majority party. Reconciliation also exists in the House of Representatives, but because the House regularly passes rules that constrain debate and amendment, the process has had a less significant impact on that body.

Healthcare Significance  

“In 2009 the House and Senate each passed separate healthcare reform bills. The Senate bill passed only after all 60 members of the Democratic caucus voted for cloture to stop an attempted Republican filibuster. Negotiations to produce a compromise bill acceptable to majorities in both houses were thrown off track by Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts.

After Brown’s victory, the Democratic caucus no longer had enough votes to stop a Senate filibuster of the compromise bill. An alternative plan was for the House to pass the Senate bill verbatim, and for each house to pass another bill that would embody the compromises agreed to in the negotiations. This separate piece of legislation, which might possibly include a public option, would require use of the reconciliation procedure in the Senate.”

Of Minutia

No matter whether the House votes on reconciliation or the Senate bill first, the Speaker can ensure that the health care bill is signed into law before reconciliation. (The dirty little secret of Congress is that even if the House votes to pass the Senate health care bill tomorrow, the Speaker has unilateral power to hold that bill at her desk until January 3rd of next year before sending it to the President and starting the 10-day Constitutional veto clock).


The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said: “Using reconciliation would be an acknowledgment that there is bipartisan opposition to their bill, another in a series of backroom deals, and the clearest signal yet that they’ve decided to completely ignore the American people.” according to the New York Times, February 19, 2010.

Other opponents of Democratic legislative initiatives in the 111th Congress began to refer to reconciliation as the “nuclear option, although that term had previously been used to refer only to a majoritarian procedure to effect a formal change in Senate rules.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=politics&iid=8096056″ src=”4/f/a/7/Obama_Hosts_BiPartisan_83e0.jpg?adImageId=10759098&imageId=8096056″ width=”380″ height=”257″ /]

Note: Cloture  is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.


And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com 

Get our Widget: Get this widget!

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest ME-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

The ME-P at Your Service

Collegial Greetings – All Readers and Subscribers        

By Ann Miller; RN, MHA


Join Our Mailing List  

The Medical Executive-Post is a thriving online and onground community that connects  medical professionals with financial advisors and management consultants. We participate in a variety of educational seminars, teaching conferences and national  workshops.  We produce journals, textbooks, handbooks and award-winning dictionaries. 

Our didactic heritage includes innovative Research & Development initiatives, litigation support activities, engaged private clients and media sourcing in the sectors we passionately serve.

Through the unbiased collaboration of this sharing forum, we have become a leading network in the healthcare administration, economics and financial planning space for doctors and hospital executives.


Even if not seeking our services, we hope this site is useful to you. In the modern Health 2.0 era, our goal is to “bridge the gap between medical mission and profit margin.”       

Thank you in advance for allowing us to be of service! 

%d bloggers like this: