Posts Tagged ‘ US health care ’

Senate votes on health care bill, passes 60-40

Washington

Breaking News: The U.S. Senate voted shortly after 1:00 A.M. on the health care reform bill. This bill, which must pass through other votes, the last scheduled for 7:00 P.M. Christmas Eve, passed Monday 60-40.

The New York Times:

The 1 a.m. Monday vote was on a motion to cut off debate on Mr. Reid’s manager’s package. A simple majority vote to approve the package is scheduled for roughly 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

The middle-of-the night session had a surreal quality to it. The chaplain, Barry C. Black, who opened the contentious Sunday session of the Senate with a prayer, did so again at 12:01 a.m. to officially begin a new legislative day.

For many Democrats, the landmark vote summoned the memory of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a champion of universal health care for his entire career, but who died in August before achieving that goal.

“Health care in America ought to be a right, not a privilege,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. “Since the time of Harry Truman, every Congress, Republican and Democrat, every president, Democrat and Republican, have at least thought about doing this. Some actually tried.”

Republicans said that the bill was fatally flawed and that voters would retaliate against Democrats at the polls in November.

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Senate set to vote on health care bill 1:00 A.M. Monday

Washington

The Senate will conduct the first of three votes concerning the health care bill at 1:00 A.M. Monday. The Senate continues to push for a Christmas Day deadline.

House legislation has passed and a Congress compromise is set to begin after Christmas.

From the Huffington Post:

Under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes on three separate occasions to pass the measure. The first and most critical test was set for about 1 a.m. Monday. Democrats said Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s announcement Saturday that he would vote for the bill gave them the support they needed.

Nelson came in for strong criticism from Republicans in Washington, who complained that he had won favorable treatment for his home state’s Medicaid program. In a bit of political theater, they sought to open the bill up to extend it to all 50 states, but Democrats objected.

Nelson’s agreement to an abortion-related change in the bill drew criticism from Nebraska Right to Life, a longtime supporter, and the state’s Catholic bishops, who issued a statement that they were “extremely disappointed” in him.
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Asked if Republicans could prevent the bill’s passage, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said: “Probably not. But what we can do is continue winning the battle of American public opinion.”

This is what the bill entails:

The Senate legislation is predicted to extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans who lack coverage and would ban industry practices such as denial of insurance on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. The Congressional Budget Office said it would reduce deficits by about $132 billion over a decade, and possibly much more in the 10 years that follow.

At its core, the legislation would create a new insurance exchange where consumers could shop for affordable coverage that complies with new federal guidelines. Most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, with subsidies available to help families making up to $88,000 in income afford the cost.

In a bow to Senate moderates, the measure lacks a government-run insurance option of the type that House Democrats placed in their bill. Instead, the estimated 26 million Americans purchasing coverage through new insurance exchanges would have the option of signing up for privately owned, nonprofit nationwide plans overseen by the same federal agency office that supervises the system used by federal employees and members of Congress.

How do you feel about the bill? Is it everything the Democrats that elected Obama had hoped for, or does it not measure up?

What did McCain mean by the statement, “…what we can do is continue winning the battle of American public opinion” ?

I want to hear from you.