20 Dec

From the AP Wire: ‘Health care bill clears key Senate test’

As reported this evening, moments after the U.S. Senate’s late-night vote:

WASHINGTON – Landmark health care legislation backed by President Barack Obama passed its sternest Senate test in the pre-dawn hours early Monday, overcoming Republican delaying tactics on a 60-40 vote that all but assures its passage by Christmas.

“Let’s make history,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, shortly before the bill’s supporters demonstrated their command of the Senate floor in an extraordinary holiday season showdown. The bill would extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans who now lack it, while banning insurance company practices such as denial of benefits on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.

The atmosphere was intensely partisan, but the outcome pre-ordained as senators cast their votes from their desks, a practice reserved for issues of particular importance. Administration officials who have worked intensely on the issue watched from the visitor’s gallery despite the hour.

So, too, Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who championed health care across a Senate career that spanned more than 40 years.

The full story is available at Yahoo! News.

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09 Dec

President Obama, Howard Dean both supportive of the Senate healthcare compromise

Hopefully all parties will release more details of the apparent Senate compromise of healthcare reform soon. In the meantime, the following story comes from MSNBC:

After agreeing tentatively to jettison a key stated priority — a full-blown government-run insurance option — Senate Democrats woke up Wednesday to some positive signs for the fragile coalition backing President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill.

A much-courted moderate — Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman — signaled he might be able to live with a compromise to offer private insurance plans under the auspices of the federal employee health program while also allowing middle-aged people to buy into Medicare. Liberal Democrats also spoke out in favor of the idea.

Meanwhile, former presidential candidate and one-time Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said the Medicare option for people age 55 to 64 was “a positive step forward.” Dean, a physician, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the idea that the government should get into the health insurance market. But as it became increasingly clear in recent weeks that a new government insurance plan did not command the necessary votes in the Senate, Dean contacted Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to offer the Medicare expansion as a way forward.

“Using Medicare makes more sense than reinventing more bureaucracy,” Dean said Wednesday on CBS’ “The Early Show.”

The full story is available at

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