President Obama wants Congress to pass the bill before the Easter break. He is working the phones and delayed an overseas trip so he can meet with fellow Democrats to finalize the legislation.
Democrats are talking about moving the bill through the House without a direct vote.That tactic is being denounced by Republicans, who vow there will not a single GOP vote for the bill.
"It is a flea-infested, tick-infested, parasite-infected, special interest-infected, wet, smelly dog," said Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, (R) Florida.
"I believe we will have the votes when we take the bill out," said Rep. John Larson, (D) Connecticut.
By Tuesday night, Democrats hope to have a final cost estimate for the bill, which would set the stage for a final vote in the house by the end of the week.
Rallies for/against in Schaumburg
As that vote approaches, hundreds gathered in suburban Schaumburg to rally both in support and against the health care reform bill. Their target was Illinois Congresswoman Melissa Bean, who has yet to decide how she will vote.
Protests with contrary viewpoints quite often find differing camps on opposite sides of the street. This one was a little different, but with no less passion. Proponents and opponents of the health care bill are shoulder to shoulder and megaphone to megaphone.
Democrats said Tuesday they have the votes to pass health care, but any vote will be close with a number of Democrats remaining undecided including Congresswoman Melissa Bean. She's in Washington, but the dueling protests outside her Schaumburg office are meant for her ears.
"The government is so out of control. Politicians of both parties are liars. They say something, it doesn't come out that way. They deceive us all," said Vince, Schaumburg.
"As it is now we pay more money than any other country to get health care for a small percentage of people. That can't continue and its going to get worse," said Matt Flamm, Palatine.
As the protests were underway, Illinois Republicans were warning that passage of the health care bill would exponentially expand Medicaid costs in Illinois - adding close to another two-billion dollars in costs to a state already deep in the red.
"Our state is in a 12-billion dollar deficit right now. We can't afford more debt to be forced on by a socialist government," said Joe Calomino, Americans for Prosperity.
"I think there's something to be said for doing tax increase on the absolute wealthiest in America. They've been taking our tax dollars for years. I think it's time they gave something back," said Melody DeGange, without health insurance.
On the same side of the street are two philosophical opponents: Sandar Lumpkin, who supports the health care bill, and Michael Kurman, a cancer survivor who fears government intervention.
"The government will say Northwestern Memorial is too expensive, your new doctors is too expensive and you're gonna have to go back to your original guy," said Michael Kurman, Buffalo Grove.
"I think the opposition has done a good job instilling fear and making people believe this is not gonna work," said Sandra Lumpkin, Lombard.