Sen. Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, on Face The Nation, has a distinct opinion on whether budget reconciliation would work for health care: yes to fixes, no to the bill itself.
"...reconciliation cannot be used to pass comprehensive health care reform. It won't work. It won't work because it was never designed for that kind of significant legislation. It was designed for deficit reduction... The major package of health care reform cannot move through the reconciliation process. It will not work... It will not work because of the Byrd rule which says anything that doesn't score for budget purposes has to be eliminated. That would eliminate all the delivery system reform, all the insurance market reform, all of those things the experts tell us are really the most important parts of this bill. The only possible role that I can see for reconciliation would be make modest changes in the major package to improve affordability, to deal with what share of Medicaid expansion the federal government pays, those kinds of issues, which is the traditional role for reconciliation in health care."