Monday News - This article offers interesting insights to the deals made.
The last Democrat that had been holding out on the Senate health care reform bill, Senator Nelson of Nebraska, finally agreed to a cloture vote to take place early Monday morning. A USA Today report stated that Senator Reid "agreed to a series of concessions on abortion and other issues" such as more stringent language preventing federal funds from going toward abortions. However, not mentioned in the article as perhaps a large part of Senator Nelson's decision to move forward is that his state gets a permanent exemption from Nebraska's Medicaid program having to fund additional coverage to people of low-income.
This is the Senate's answer to dropping the public health option - in order to pay for coverage to those currently uninsured, private insurance companies will offer non-profit plans and Medicaid will be expanded with each state expected to fund part of the program, except Nebraska. Senator Nelson reportedly just saved his state $6 million for the first year the bill would take effect.
Other states are receiving similar benefits from deals being made by Senators. Louisiana's Mary Landrieu secured $300 million for our state for disaster assistance. Such deals have nothing to do with health care but do increase federal spending, something which someone in Washington promised not to do.
The Senate bill started at 2000 pages and is now up to about 2500. It is growing as rapidly as it will expand government involvement in health care. Although the public option was dropped - which is simply a government-run insurance plan - none of the controls, committees, offices and positions established to run the American health care system were changed. We have seen what the government has done with Medicare, which is simply a government-run insurance plan. The bill makes cuts to Medicare, a program already suffering from poor management.
The Senate is to resume debate Sunday afternoon with a cloture motion expected by 1am Monday. With Nelson on board the Democrats have the minimum 60 votes needed to end debate. Once passed in the Senate, the bill must go before both chambers of Congress to be merged with the House bill. Although alike in the creation of "exchanges" and heavy government controls, the two bills contain significant differences that likely mean it will take some time for a new bill to emerge, unless similar politics seen of late in the Senate continue.
If you have something to say about your opinion on health care reform and whether or not the Senate bill should pass, you should consider letting your Senator know about it and how you will be voting in the next elections. Contact any of your elected officials or just contact your Senator.
Additional resources: health care reform
"What's in health care proposals for 5 Americans"