Maite Jullian
The New York Times
January 10, 2010

[efoods]President Barack Obama asked Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday to speed up efforts to finalize a health bill by renouncing to a traditional conference committee meant to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions, the Washington Post reports.

If Democratic leaders agree, the House would work on and amend the Senate version of the legislation before sending it back to the Senate for a final vote. Renouncing to a conference committee would help speed up action on the health bill and allow a passage before the State of the Union address in early February.

With the tight margin of votes in the Senate, House Democrats would likely have to make several concessions, including renouncing to a government plan, opposed by moderates in the Senate. Besides the public option, several differences remain between the two versions, including who to tax to finance the cost, the number of people to cover and abortion and illegal immigrants coverage.

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