October 14th, 2009 – Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 in favor of a ten year and $829 billion health care bill. Republican Senator Olympia Snow of Maine was the sole Republican that voted in favor of the bill, joining the 13 Democrats in the Committee.
The other 9 Republicans said they could not support the measure because they believe it will raise the cost of health insurance premiums.
President Barrack Obama said, “We are now closer than ever to passing health reform. But, we’re not there yet.” The White House would like to see a bill that meets all of President Obama’s criteria on his desk to sign into law by year’s end, but there are many hurdles to cross before that might happen.
The Senate bill would extend health insurance coverage to milions of Americans, make health insurance guarantee issue and would be paid for with cuts to Medicare and new taxes on more benefit rich health insurance plans.
The bill will be subject to floor debate in the Senate starting the week of October 26. Congress will need to merge their 5 Congressional bills into one that can win a majority in the House and get the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate. The Congressional versions all contain the controversial Government Run Plan, whereas the Senate Bill does not. The graphic below summarizes key differences between the Senate and Congressional bills.
The Bill’s Path
- This week, next week: Senate leaders, White House officials meet to craft bill to bring to Senate floor.
- Week of Oct. 26: Target date for Senate to begin floor debate on bill. Debate may last several weeks.
- By end of October: House leaders aim to bring bill to the floor for a vote.
- Date uncertain: If Senate and House pass bills, conference committee would convene to meld the versions.
- End of year: President Barack Obama’s target date for signing a health bill.
Source: Wall Street Journal Article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125543637111982309.html