Contrary to earlier reports, U.S. House leaders say they are prepared to take up the Senate health care bill,
so long as their colleagues in the upper chamber agree to certain
changes as part of a so-called budget reconciliation
"sidecar." Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) thinks
he has the requisite 218 votes, but the coalition will be tricky to
maintain. Nate Silver estimates that 7-17 House members could switch sides, including Illinois' own Bill Foster. Given that Foster's primary criticism
of the House bill was the design of the public option (dropped in the Senate version), the more likely Illinois defectors might actually be Reps. Dan Lipinski and Jerry Costello, both supporters of the anti-abortion Stupak amendment. (Altering the
abortion language -- at least through reconciliation -- appears impossible, according to Harry Reid's office.) Check out Balloon Juice's latest whip count here.