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The Senates' 60 Vote Showdown On Saturday

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, November 20, 2009 10:19 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Health Care Reform, Democrats, GOP, Tort Reform, Caps, Uninsured, Insurance, GOP

Harry Reid prepared for a vote in the Senate on allowing debate to continue.


IMAGE SOURCE: Sen Harry Reid video from Web site

Will They Pull Together?

Prior to a rare Senate Saturday session, Democratic leaders are ensuring they have critical last-minute commitments, the 60 votes needed before they can even begin debating health care reform in the Senate.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who was a Democratic holdout, announced he would support a procedural vote Saturday. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana also expressed support of the motion to proceed.

If the 60 votes are cast Saturday, lawmakers would come back from their Thanksgiving recess November 30 and begin considering the proposed amendments from both sides of the aisle in the Senate.

Ultimately the house version of health care reform would have to be reconciled with the Senate version.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unveiled the wide-ranging 2,074 page bill this week. The $848 billion measure would expand health insurance coverage to include another 31 million Americans over the next 10 years, and set up new online insurance purchasing exchanges and provide subsidies to those who cannot afford insurance.

Almost immediately, Republicans in the Senate showed their displeasure as did the business community.

“We’re disappointed.” That is the word from Bruce Josten, an executive VP of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, about the health care reform plan introduced by Sen. Reid.

Some Republican lawmakers have vowed to filibuster the legislative process. All 58 Democratic senators and two independents must vote together to advance to the next stage of debate. The vote is set to take place at 8 p.m.

Reid reportedly promised Mary Landrieu a boost in aid for her state’s Medicaid insurance program for the poor for her support. He reportedly promised Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden to allow about one million to access new insurance exchanges.

He also agreed to slash proposed new taxes on medical device makers to appease Democrats such as Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana that is home to manufacturers.

Those who oppose the public option provision, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) said they may back a so-called ‘trigger” that creates a government plan in parts of the country when for-profit insurers could not provide quality insurance that is affordable.

Reid has a lot riding on the reform package as he is up for a six-year Senate term in 2010 and defeat could erode support for Mr. Obama and the Democrats in general

Mammograms And The Senate

This week Republicans seized on the policy to reduce mammograms and pap smears as an example of government rationed medical care to erode support of President Obama’s proposed health care overhaul.

This week a government panel that recommends the nation’s health care policies suggested women need not start mammograms regularly until their 40s.

The mammogram recommendations do not determine what services are covered under health care reform.

“This is how rationing starts,” said Jon Kyl of Arizona at a news conference.

"We're not rationing anything," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. "It's a decision between a woman and her doctors."

The specter of the government making deeply personal medical decisions for millions of Americans — in this case, women — has been propelled in part by the Republican drive to stymie the Democratic bill reports AP.

As it stands now all states except Utah force insurers to cover mammograms. #

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