WASHINGTON - House of Representatives Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said on Tuesday the U.S. Senate's version of healthcare reform was clearly better than nothing and the overhaul could pass the U.S. Congress within 15 days.

Hoyer refused to speculate on the fate of healthcare reform if Democrats lose a special U.S. Senate election that could cost them their crucial 60th vote. He said negotiators were still working to merge the two bills.

Sending the Senate bill to the House for approval without changes would be an option for healthcare advocates if Democrat Martha Coakley loses Tuesday's election in Massachusetts.

We are moving forward, we are not done, Hoyer told reporters when asked about the healthcare bill.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)