Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is now confident that he has the sixty votes needed to proceed with cloture for H.R.3590. The Senate has met every day since November 30th in the hopes of getting the needed sixty votes to break a Republican filibuster.

After thirteen hours of closed door negotiations on Friday Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is now on board. “Change is never easy,” Nelson told reporters. “I truly believe this legislation will stand the test of time. The lives of millions Americans will be improved.” The legislation is set to be passed in the Senate by Christmas.

The White House is pleased with the likely outcome and expressed support for the bill, but White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod was hesitant to declare this the complete success originally hoped for when asked by NBC’s David Gregory on Meet the Press if this was “mission accomplished.”

When confronted about the removal of the Public Option from the final bill Axelrod rebuffed criticism from the left and cited an op-ed written by Paul Krugman in Friday’s New York Times. In the op-ed Krugman expresses that progressives should pass the bill despite the absence of a Public Option.

Every Senator that caucuses with the Democrats is needed in order to achieve the magic number of sixty required to overcome a Republican filibuster. No Republican supports this legislation. Even Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has said she will not support the bill given the hurried manner in which it is being handled.

The final bill includes stricter regulations and restrictions for abortion funding and full Medicaid coverage for Ben Nelson’s Nebraska by the federal government. Nebraska is the only state to have been given this perk. All other states are covered until 2017. If the changes are not present in the final bill Nelson has said he will oppose it.

Both sides of the abortion issue seem to be dissatisfied with the compromise. The agreement has created segregation within the way abortions are funded and allows for states to determine whether private insurance companies can offer coverage for abortions within their states. David Axelrod pointed out that this compromise “Doesn’t change the status quo” when asked about this on Meet the Press.

The CBO estimates the bill will reduce the deficit by $132 billion* over the next decade and by $1.3 trillion over the next two decades. It will cost $871 billion over 10 years. This is an increase over the $848 billion estimated for the original bill that was brought before the Senate.

*This has been corrected from the original.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Sorry– nevermind– back to the dweeb way.

This first one, from Alternet,

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choicelady
Member

I had the pleasure of having dinner with Trumka once. He is amazing, delightful, and smart as all get out. I’m honored to think we’re in the same place on this.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Two more interesting takes on the process. (And please bear with me as I try the new linking jazz.)

This first one, from Alternet, “Why Health Care ‘Deform’ Might Help Elect a Few Real Progressives” starts out whiny but gets somewhere with some new and unusual poll results. a/http://newstrust.net/stories/525015/toolbar

Another is Richard Trumka– head of the AFL/CIO who echoes something ChoiceLAdy states, that the bill will chnage one in committee. Here’s the link /ahttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/17/trumka-senate-bill-as-is_n_396542.html

THIS IS MY FIRST ATTEMPT! If I flail, I’ll re-post.

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choicelady
Member

Honest, folks – the Senate could put in a bill that says, SB XXX – everything is hunky dory with our current system, and no change is needed, and they would STILL have to deal with HR 3962 from the House. The Conference Committee appointees are all liberal save for Baucus who’s laboring under his girlfriend scandal, and I think what will emerge will be good – far better than the Senate bill. Then the gloves come off, what Matt Taibi (Rolling Stone) calls the “rubber hoses” come out, and Reid and Obama lay it on the line. Move this to the floor, end filibuster, or you will lose chairmanships, committee appointments, and every DIME of federal money for your state.

Since you can threaten this only ONCE, that would be the time!

When it goes into conference committee, that IS when our work begins.

Be stouthearted – this is NOT over just because the Senate bill sucks (a technical term, you understand…)

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KarateKid
Member

The two things I have ALWAYS been against remain in this bill. I said this during the debate, and I’ve said this numerous times in comments.

First is the mandate. Never before in our history has a government FORCED us to buy something from a private, for profit industry. And to top off their Christmas cheer for the insurance industry, the IRS will become their collection agency.

Second is the anti-women aspect, both in the House bill and now, thanks to Nelson, the Senate. Women have fought long and hard for equality, and the Pro Lifers would love nothing more than to hack away at their gains from Roe v. Wade a little at a time. These crazies bomb clinics, murder doctors and will stop at nothing to overturn it. ANY small gain is unacceptable.

A friend of mine said this: On a monthly basis, I choose between food, housing and health insurance. Now, with the health insurance about to be taken away, I now will have to choose between food and housing.

People don’t have health insurance for two main reasons: 1. They can’t afford it, and 2. The have a pre-existing condition. I daresay most fit into category one. But God forbid someone in category two, also. Wait until they HAVE to buy insurance with very expensive rates, up to three times what the average person pays.

I don’t know about you all, but I cannot afford to use 17-30% of my income for health insurance; I don’t make enough. And I don’t have any credit card or any other debt other than monthly living expenses.

It will be ironic, but I raged at this site earlier at the Stupak Amendment. Now, I find myself rooting for him to succeed in killing this bill. The House passed their bill by a scant two votes; the Senate will pass it with no room to spare. I hope someone crosses the line. While I want to have people be able to get health care, I don’t want to be FORCED to get it.

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choicelady
Member

I totally agree – our progressive faith organization is absolutely, 100% against a mandate in the private market. That is sheer evil! But I bet the public option comes back in Conference Committee, and survives because of the outrage we all have expressed. Never doubt your power! Voices outweigh even money on Capitol Hill. Seen it before on big issues – people CAN take back America.

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bito
Member

KK, Where did you get the figure 17- 30% of your adjusted income for HC insurance?

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bito
Member

All right, after many days of reading posts, columns, comments and musings about everything that is terrible about his bill. “Woulda, shoulda, coulda….”
Someone out here, list me 8 main points that will pass this Congress and that would improve the the state of our Health Care.

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nellie
Member

This has been getting a lot of circulation, but I thought it was worth posting here:
Abandoned

And this from Ezra Klein:
Still time to think small

He gives this link to the senate bill and its amendments.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Abbreviated from Health Care for America Now:

Here’s what must be fixed:

1. Make health care affordable

The Senate bill does not make health care affordable at work, and would encourage employers to hire part-time workers and offer bare-bones benefits. We need the final legislation to do what the House bill does – require all but the smallest employers to contribute a fair amount to good coverage for their workers.

And for those people who are self-employed or in between jobs, both bills need improvement on affordability. The Senate bill doesn’t do enough to make coverage affordable for low-and-moderate income families and the House falls short for middle-income families. The final bill should combine the best of both.

2. Hold insurance companies accountable

The final bill must include strong consumer protections and insurance regulations for all consumers, and give the federal government responsibility for running the new insurance marketplaces. Generally, the House bill is better, but we need Congress to pick the strongest provisions from both bills to be sure that everyone with insurance benefits from strong consumer protections.

The final bill should also give us the choice of a national public health insurance option that’s available on day one.

3. Fairly finance health care reform

The Senate bill taxes the health care benefits of millions of workers to pay for health reform. There’s a better way to pay for health reform that won’t raise premiums and out of pocket costs. By contrast, the House bill asks those who can most afford to pay their fair share to finance reform, as President Obama promised during his campaign.

The final bill should ask the richest to pay their fair share for reform, instead of taxing our health care benefits.

What’s next?

The reason that conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson and Independent Joe Lieberman have been able to hold the bill hostage to their demands is that Republicans have insisted on filibustering the bill every step of the way, requiring all 60 Senators who are part of the Democratic caucus to agree. That will continue this week, with the next 60-vote motion happening on Monday and perhaps two more 60-votes motions occurring during the week.

After the Senate passes their health care bill, it will head into “conference” with the House bill.

Conference is an opportunity to stand up for the three priorities listed above. The legislation that comes out of the conference will be sent to both houses of Congress for a final vote, and will require a majority in the House and 60 votes one more time in the Senate.

What can be done?

Let your Senators, member of Congress and President Obama hear from you.

It’s been a tough week for health care reformers, there’s no question. But we need to get ready, because it’s not over yet.

As President Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.” This last week has been painful and difficult, and there’s a lot of effort ahead. We’ll all be taking this time over the holidays to recharge for the coming fight.

As long as you’re fighting with us, we’ve got a chance to win this thing and finish reform right.

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Chernynkaya
Member

While not as demoralized as I have been lately, my gut is speaking to me and it’s saying, “America is a backward country!” Yes, the country as a whole, where I was born and where I live. And that is hard to reckon with. The last time I felt this way was 1969, but I was so young then and the world was my oyster, so it didn’t hurt as much to say it.

But my gut is also very vocal about what the passage of this bill means politically. It means Jim DeMint can’t stand in front of the cameras and declare that Obama has met his Waterloo. It means that the Dems can remain motivated to pass other, better legislation. It may even mean less of a defeat in 2010 and even victory in Congress in 2012.

So while I remain an UN-proud American, I am also relieved that the Dems won’t be saddled with complete defeat and will live to fight another day. That’s the best I can muster.

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