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Senate approves health care reform bill


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Merry Christmas. :D

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/12/24/health.care/index.html

Washington (CNN) -- The Senate has passed an $871 billion health care reform bill.

Senators voted 60-39 shortly after 7 a.m. to pass the bill, the centerpiece of President Obama's domestic agenda. Every member of the Democratic caucus backed the measure; every Republican opposed it.

The bill now moves to a conference committee to reconcile differences with the version passed by the House of Representatives.

The Senate health care bill cleared a third and final procedural hurdle Wednesday as Democrats successfully limited remaining debate time on the $871 billion measure.

That vote, also 60-39 along party lines, set up Thursday's vote on final passage.

Democrats also turned back last-ditch motions from Republicans claiming various provisions in the bill, including a mandate that individuals purchase coverage, are unconstitutional.

"It's long past time we declare health care a right and not a privilege," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said after Wednesday's vote.

"Today is a victory ... for American families," proclaimed Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana. "Americans won."

The victory for Obama comes after nearly a year of sharply polarized deliberations on Capitol Hill. Any measure passed by the Senate, however, will still have to be merged with a $1 trillion plan approved by the House of Representatives in November.

Increasingly confident Democrats hope to have a bill ready for Obama's signature before his State of the Union address early next year.

"Health care reform is not a matter of if," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. "Health care reform now is a matter of when."

If a combined House-Senate health care bill clears Congress and is signed by Obama, it would be the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid over four decades ago.

Republicans have mounted a no-holds-barred legislative campaign against the bill, using a series of procedural maneuvers to slow debate while arguing that the measure will raise taxes while doing little to slow spiraling health care costs.

They've also ripped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, for garnering the 60 votes necessary to pass the bill in part by cobbling together a series of "sweetheart deals" for wavering members of the Democratic caucus.

"This bill is a grab bag of Chicago-style, backroom buyoffs," Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch said Wednesday.

Recent compromises made to win the backing of moderates such as Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut also angered many liberal Democrats and threatened to undermine support for the bill.

Democrats have now held three key procedural votes on the health care bill this week. The backing of all 60 members of the Democratic caucus was required during each vote in order to overcome a filibuster from a GOP minority united in opposition.

Final passage of the measure, in contrast, will require only a bare majority in the 100-member chamber.

Enthusiastic top Democrats argue the Senate bill would constitute a positive change of historic proportions. The legislation, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would extend health insurance to more than 30 million Americans currently lacking coverage while reducing the federal deficit.

The House and Senate bills agree on a broad range of changes that could impact every American's coverage.

Among other things, they have agreed to subsidize insurance for a family of four making up to roughly $88,000 annually, or 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

They also have agreed to create health insurance exchanges designed to make it easier for small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to pool resources and purchase less-expensive coverage. Both the House plan and the Senate bill would eventually limit total out-of-pocket expenses and prevent insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Insurers also would be barred from charging higher premiums based on a person's gender or medical history. However, both bills allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums for older customers.

Medicaid would be significantly expanded under both proposals. The House bill would extend coverage to individuals earning up to 150 percent of the poverty line, or roughly $33,000 for a family of four; the Senate plan ensures coverage to those earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or just over $29,000 for a family of four.

Major differences between the bills will be the focus of the conference committee that will try to merge them. House and Senate Democrats are still divided over how to pay for their plans. They are also split on, among other things, language relating to abortion coverage and whether to include a government-run public health insurance option.

The House bill includes a public option; the more conservative Senate measure would instead create nonprofit private plans overseen by the federal government.

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It's not the Bill I hoped for. I think this is one of those times where the critics made something much worse through their agitating than it was to start with. This is why constructive criticism is so much better than all these bombastic spewings we get these days.

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I believe that an effort to provide health care to all Americans is a good and worthy goal. I thought doing it through an insurance model was kind of dumb to begin with, but if you were going to do that, you needed to at least have a "public" option because you better have the ability to negotiate and pressure prices. This Bill still can do some good in direct services, but it's potential to reform the health care industry has been really ripped apart. It's gone from something that could be good for the people and the pocketbook to something that will be good for a few people and terrible for the wallet.

I blame the dems for trying to please the critics by groveling and stripping away useful provisions and ideas. I also blame them for coming up with a Bill that was not that great to start with. It is, as far as I can tell, worse today than when it started.

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Burg what would you have liked to seen different?

I'd at least have had a true public option. I would have found a way to control pricing so that a drug made in Silver Spring doesn't cost ten times more to buy in Rockville than it does to buy in Europe and have it shipped over. If it costs 50 cents to produce a pill, but they charge 10 bucks per pill that's a little much. Now, I know a portion of that goes into R&D and another portion goes to pay for all the effort and time put into developing the drug, but there is absolute gouging going on in many areas of the health care universe.

I would have also addressed the care part of healthcare. People are being unduly rushed out of hospitals because of insurance, nursing homes drain entire families dry for minimal and apathetic care. Doctors overtest or sometimes undertest because of fear, because of collusion, because of necessity, and because of greed (or all of the above).

I would have addressed tort reform a bit more, and finally, I would have passed it in interlocking stages of twenty separate Bills so that neither would be so cumbersome or larded up that it was as easy to get away with stuff.

All or nothing is a terrible way to write a program.

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I believe that an effort to provide health care to all Americans is a good and worthy goal. I thought doing it through an insurance model was kind of dumb to begin with, but if you were going to do that, you needed to at least have a "public" option because you better have the ability to negotiate and pressure prices. This Bill still can do some good in direct services, but it's potential to reform the health care industry has been really ripped apart. It's gone from something that could be good for the people and the pocketbook to something that will be good for a few people and terrible for the wallet.

I blame the dems for trying to please the critics by groveling and stripping away useful provisions and ideas. I also blame them for coming up with a Bill that was not that great to start with. It is, as far as I can tell, worse today than when it started.

Out of the triangle of problems that is Phamas, Insurance and the medical billers, which one does this bill help bring under control?

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I'd at least have had a true public option. I would have found a way to control pricing so that a drug made in Silver Spring doesn't cost ten times more to buy in Rockville than it does to buy in Europe and have it shipped over. I would have addressed the problems of nursing homes which drain an entire family dry almost immediately and deliver universally minimal and apathetic care. I would have addressed tort reform a bit more, and finally, I would have passed it in interlocking stages of twenty Bills so that neither would be so cumbersome or larded up that it was as easy to get away with stuff.

All or nothing is a terrible way to write a program.

Yeah, but just think of the great "feel good" Christmas photo-op we'd all be missing right now.

Viva la Symbolism!

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It is a Christmas gift to some. And there is good to this Bill as well. It just should have been much, much better. Politically, in my opinion there's blood on everyone's hands. The Repubs for standing to the side and for believing that lobbing hand grenades was doing their job. The Dems for writing and compromising themselves to a poor bill. The President for creating this forced march which necessitated having this bill passed today when clearly it was sliding off the rails and should have gone back to be rebuilt.

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It is a Christmas gift to some. And there is good to this Bill as well. It just should have been much, much better. Politically, in my opinion there's blood on everyone's hands. The Repubs for standing to the side and for believing that lobbing hand grenades was doing their job. The Dems for writing and compromising themselves to a poor bill. The President for creating this forced march which necessitated having this bill passed today when clearly it was sliding off the rails and should have gone back to be rebuilt.

Granted, the R's did nothing to help. A few who tried to early on were shot down immediately, if memory serves me.

But, the D's wrote it, rushed it, and are now ramming it.

For the few it might help, Merry Christmas.

For the rest of us, who have to pay for it, Merry ****ing Christmas.

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The problem is the Democrats were once they found out they did not have the votes to get what they really wanted which is a public option that leads to single payer decided they had to pass something for political reasons. And we end up with this disgrace of a bill which does nothing to fix healthcare in this country gives special deals to senators for there vote and over the long term just adds to the countries national debt. It is a sad day for this country and I guarantee the Democrats will pay dearly at the polls next November. My question for all the Obama voters is where is the change we can belive in looks like same old Washington politics to me.

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I think when you focus on what this bill does not, there is a tendency to forget what this bill does... and it does a LOT.

I also do not think it is appropriate to view this bill as the final answer.

Davidmore27 - sausage is sausage regardless of how you slice it. It's just how the process works. I certainly did not expect Obama to turn sausage into filet mignon. I know some probably did expect a magical transformation, and in some ways I think they reflect the naivette that Obama voters tend to be accused of from time to time.

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ah, can't one just sit back and enjoy the republican sufferage? Enjoy the nice big high hard one my gop supporting friends, it may be the only love that you're going to get this holiday season. :evilg:

Just think of the 8 years of Bush Co. doing what they please raping and pillaging society and running this country into the ground, not only on your watch, but with your endorsement. This is your payoff. Power swings like a pendulum. The more you move it in one direction the further is swings the other way. Remember that next time you vote a straight ticket to try and grab all the power of the branches of govt. This over correction is a direct result of your efforts. Own it, live it, love it. :laugh:

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The problem is the Democrats were once they found out they did not have the votes to get what they really wanted which is a public option that leads to single payer decided they had to pass something for political reasons. And we end up with this disgrace of a bill which does nothing to fix healthcare in this country gives special deals to senators for there vote and over the long term just adds to the countries national debt. It is a sad day for this country and I guarantee the Democrats will pay dearly at the polls next November. My question for all the Obama voters is where is the change we can belive in looks like same old Washington politics to me.

The repubs did nothing except try and kill this bill and in the process killed all the beneficial parts you mentioned. Vote independent next time.

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I think when you focus on what this bill does not, there is a tendency to forget what this bill does... and it does a LOT.

Indeed it does

Raises taxes

Creates fines

Gives the govt more control over your health choices

Creates yet another unfunded entitlement

Cuts coverage options

Increases your ins costs

Expands govt control over private enterprise

Raises rates on old people

Say Hello to a loss of FREEDOM

Merry ****ing Christmas

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Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) yesterday talking about fellow senators breaking their "solemn oath" to the constitution by passing health care reform legislation. A bit hypocritical coming from a man who broke his "solemn oath" to his wife.

http://vodpod.com/watch/2741564-sen-ensign-stresses-solemn-oath-senators-take-to-protect-constitution-not-to-reform-health-care

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Why is it when the particulars of the bill are brought up the Republicans are attacked?

Are ya'll so ashamed of the product you wish to deflect blame for it?

C'mon whisper sweet nothings in my ear and tell me how this POS makes things better.

Tell me you how really care for me and are gonna take care of me.

Tell me how things are gonna get better

:moon:...I'm waiting...you're only gonna put the head in right?

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