Senate Health Bill ready for a final vote tomorrow

12/23/09 Joshua Lee Holton
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Late this afternoon the U.S. Senate voted 60-39 to end the debate on the health care reform bill. The final vote on the senate bill will be tomorrow at 7AM. Some of the concessions won by lawmakers and interest groups in the healthcare overhaul bill have been called sweetheart deals, and came under fire during the debate. Republican Senator John Cornyn criticized deals given to Democratic Senators Bill Nelson of Florida and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Republican Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said that the entitlement is going to detract from Medicare, while increasing the deficit with a 2 trillion dollar program.

The junior Senator from Minnesota, Democrat Al Franken, said that while total program costs are $2.3 trillion, the idea that it will add that to the deficit conflicts with a finding from the Congressional Budget Office.

Many Republicans denounced the plan to pay for both entitlements from the bill and Medicare using the same money. Republican Mike Enzi accused Democrats of crafting the bill around deals with major corporations.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois named some of the organizations that have endorsed the bill.

Democratic Senators avoided several constitutional challenges to the legislation from Republicans. Senator Harry Reid called Republican claims of a deficit increase 'delays and obstruction'. Democratic Senator Max Baucus cited the CBO as saying that the deficit will be reduced between $630 billion and $1.3 trillion.

Tomorrow morning’s vote requires only a majority, and should easily pass. After that, the Senate bill will still have to be merged with the House bill in Committee.

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Healthcare Bill? C'mon Man

I voted for President Obama and support him, but I'm ticked off about this bill, in it's current Senate form. It is so watered down as to be virtually ineffective for the common joe. The insurance companies get 30 -35 million new customers - mandated customers, customers who have no choice - they MUST buy insurance or face a fine. For this the insurance companies give nothing - first, they still enjoy their anti-trust exemption, second they are no price caps when you get insurance or when you change carriers and bring your pre-existing condition with you, third, there is no public option and that will only insure premiums go sky high. Is there an upside for 'common joe' that I fail to see?