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November 20 – Recap of where we are on the Health Care Bills

The AP (11/20) reports the Senate “will hold its first vote on health care legislation on Saturday night and Democrats will need 60 votes to prevail.” Majority Leader Harry Reid “announced the schedule on the Senate floor, one day after unveiling a nearly $1 trillion bill to expand health coverage.”

        The CBS Evening News (11/19, lead story, 2:30, Couric) opened with the healthcare story, reporting, “It’s down now to two healthcare reform bills, the one the House passed two weeks ago and the one” Reid has finalized. Reid “hasn’t locked up the 60 votes he needs to get it through. His bill would extend coverage to 94 percent of Americans, the House bill, 96 percent.” ABC World News (11/19, story 3, 2:35, Gibson) said the Senate bill is “one of the most expensive bills ever taken up by Congress. The legislation runs more than 2,000 pages. It would take an estimated 48 hours to read it.”

        The New York Times (11/20, A24, Pear) says the Saturday vote will be “on whether to take up the legislation.” Reid “refused to say Thursday whether he had the 60 votes needed to clear that procedural hurdle.” The Senate bill “would spend $821 billion over 10 years on Medicaid and subsidies. The House bill would spend 25 percent more: $1.03 trillion over 10 years.”

        The Washington Post (11/20, A1, Montgomery, Murray) says in a front page story Reid “worked Thursday to nail down the votes” needed. Reid is focusing on Sens. Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson, “moderate Democrats who oppose various provisions in the bill and have not declared whether they will support efforts to advance it.” Sen. Joseph Lieberman said he “will vote with Democrats on Saturday to begin debate. But Lieberman has said he would vote against final passage if the bill includes any version of a government insurance plan.” Politico (11/20, Raju) says Lieberman’s “threat to filibuster any health care bill with a public option could kill health reform this year — and embolden Democratic challengers who’d like to send him packing in 2012.”

        The Washington Times (11/20, Haberkorn) states that “Democratic leaders don’t yet have the 60 votes required to start formal floor debate on the health care reform bill.” The Times says the three moderates want a chance to review the bill in advance. If they “don’t budge, Democratic leaders are also pursuing moderate Republicans, though at least one said the conversations haven’t been backed up with any changes to the legislation.” Sen. Olympia Snowe said she “won’t support the bill because it doesn’t do enough to make insurance affordable and protect small businesses.”

        In contrast to the Times, the AP (11/20, Espo) says “there were growing indications Democrats would prevail” on the initial vote, saying none of the three moderates “has announced a plan to defect.”

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November 20, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , ,

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