Health Care Reform: Search the Competing Bills

By Olga Pierce, ProPublica

The hubbub has subsided after President Obama's health care speech, but reform's treacherous route through Congress remains the same.

Obama called for reining in the insurance industry, creating a public option to help make insurance available to everyone, and requiring everyone to have coverage. But he must still reconcile his views with proposals in the House and the Senate, which differ from one another and from what the president outlined.

For people out there who don't like to read 1,000-page bills, we have posted to our document viewer the health care reform bills being considered by Congress. So far, there is one bill in the Senate, with one more to come, and one in the House. With the documents in the viewer you can search for specific terms, or link directly to pages in the bill -- and we'll be keeping the bills up-to-date as they change. (Search the Senate bill and the House bill.)

Here is more about the bills -- and the steps (and senators) they'll have to make it past before they can become laws.

Until last week, President Obama took a hands-off approach health care reform. Instead, in February he included eight general principles in the presidential budget. The principles laid out requirements of a plan -- it must make insurance available to everyone and address rising costs, for example -- but did not specify policies.

That left Congress to debate many of the contentious issues, including whether to have a public option, and whether everyone should be required to have health insurance.

The three House committees that have jurisdiction over health care matters, Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, and Ways and Means, all passed a bill in June. Now that it has made it out of committee it must be passed by a majority of House members.

But the House will probably not act until the two Senate committees with jurisdiction over health care settle on a bill. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed its version of a health care reform bill in July, but the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid, has yet to pass a bill.