Health bill a go, but no Snowe

The NYTime has a package on the the likelihood that the Senate will pass a striped down reform bill. But, without the support of the senator from Maine.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a Maine Republican who had been considered a possible Democratic ally, said she would oppose the measure because it was being rushed. “It is a take-it-or-leave-it package,” she said.

Also see Robert Pear’s story, which explains the details of the package.

The final deal was packed with provisions calculated to appeal to various constituencies. The bill would provide extra Medicaid money to Nebraska, long-term-care insurance to people with severe disabilities, new services for pregnant teenagers and financial breaks to nonprofit insurance companies.

But there were also potential losers. To bring in more revenue, the bill proposes a range of new fees and taxes that would affect some high-income people, profitable health insurance companies and people who use tanning salons.

The proposals were drafted by Mr. Reid as part of an amendment to a sweeping health care bill, which embodies President Obama’s top domestic priority.

Mr. Reid’s amendment would expand eligibility for a small-business tax credit, increase penalties on certain uninsured people and increase the payroll tax on higher-income individuals and families beyond the increase that Mr. Reid proposed last month.

The Washington Post says:

Speaking at the White House, Obama said it appears that a vote is certain on a bill that would provide coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. “After a nearly century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health-care reform a reality,” said Obama, who had dispatched senior administration officials to help lock down Nelson’s support.

Republicans excoriated the bill as a threat to Medicare — cuts to the program for the elderly would offset much of the cost — and to the employer-based insurance system, which provides health coverage to most Americans.

“This bill is a monstrosity,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “This is not renaming the post office. Make no mistake — this bill will reshape our nation and our lives.”

GOP leaders, who have vowed to use every available tactic to keep the measure from advancing, invoked a rarely used Senate rule to require that the entire 383-page package of amendments introduced by Reid Saturday morning be read aloud on the floor, a process that consumed about seven hours.

But Republicans were running out of options in their quest to derail the overhaul. Securing Nelson’s support allows Reid to maneuver the legislation through a complex parliamentary minefield without obstruction. A bloc of 60 votes is the exact number required to choke off the filibuster, the Senate minority’s primary source of power, and the GOP‘s best hope of defeating the bill.

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One thought on “Health bill a go, but no Snowe

  1. I am very, very uncofortable with the speed with which this bill is being done — the amendment was added (in secret, essentially, what — Saturday morning?). And Congress wonders why Obama’s and their own poll numbers are going down, down, down.

    There were so many modest ways to attack the problem before going ahead with this massive overhaul from the word go. How about CDHP – consumer driven health plans for example? The book “Bend the Health Care Trend” talks about the 3 fundamental principles of CDHP – transprance, opportunity and responsibility. When we are engaged and employwer to make informed and cost-conscious decisions about our lifestyle and healthcare spending, we’re happier and healthier and we don’t spend as much! Transparency, responsibility and accountability: couldn’t be clearer.

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