Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Democrats cinch health care deal

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

During a monstrous snowstorm, Senate Democrats won the 60 votes needed to approve the biggest overhaul in health care "in a generation." The breakthrough came when Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) agreed to back the bill. The agreement was reached after 12 hours of give and take.

The good:

* The legislation "seeks to extend health benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans by expanding Medicaid and providing subsidies to help moderate-income people purchase private insurance."

* The bill "imposes tight new regulations of the health insurance industry, barring insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions and limiting how much extra they can charge for people based on their age."

The so-so:

Mr. Reid’s amendment includes tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions sought by Mr. Nelson. Health insurance plans would not be required or forbidden to cover abortions, but states could prohibit the coverage of abortions by plans that are offered for sale through new government-regulated marketplaces.

The Senate also easily approved a $626 billion defense bill by 88-to-10. Not surprisingly the Republican obstructionists had tried to derail the measure during the past week. A two-month extension of jobless pay and health coverage for the unemployed was also approved.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) claimed the measure was "being rushed through," therefore she would oppose the measure.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the "Democrats would pay a political price." Ewwww, is this a threat?


  1. They are rethugs aren't they? Thugs threaten.. they delay and they try anything they can to stop progress... they know if we, as Democrats and Progressives get this done and the people are happy, there will be a long time in the wilderness for them.

  2. A good analysis. Once upon a time there were some decent Republicans - Nelson Rockefeller and Everitt Dirksen, to name one or two. I guess there's been more but no one comes to mind.

    Thanks for coming by. Sometimes I think this is an exercise in futility.

  3. thats right Annette. After a tough week I am feeling much more optimistic and I am seeing the LIGHT!! Dems need this bad, it's their lifeline for holding onto the majority, of course that is if the bill proves to really make reform obvious to the people most needing of it.

  4. LIEberman has left Washington to spend the last day of Hanukkah with his health care lobbyist wife. I am not sure we have heard the last of him.

  5. I posted about her but since then, it's been pretty well documented that she is not now a lobbyist and that the effort to get her separated from Susan B. Konen was misleading and malicious. I wouldn't like to see us mimic the lies of the right.

  6. TomCat: This ran in The Wash. Post

    Hadassah Lieberman is not and has never been a lobbyist. She did work for some pharmaceutical companies -- Hoffman-La Roche in New York in the 1970s before she married Lieberman, and Pfizer, also in New York, from 1982 to 1985. Later, from 1993 to 1997, she worked for Apco, a global public relations firm that represents corporations, including several drug companies.

    Mrs. Lieberman is not paid in her role as global ambassador for Komen, though she does get a check for consulting work she performs under a separate agreement. According to Komen spokeswoman Pamela Stevens, Komen has never funneled money to pharmaceutical companies.

  7. I understand why people are against abortion. I understand why they don't want their tax dollars used to pay for abortions.
    I don't understand how the Congress can write a law (refusing to pay for a legal abortion procedure) that passes constitutionality, when the Supreme Court has ruled abortion legal within certain time limits. If the court says a procedure is legal, it should also be legal for a federal program to pay for it.

  8. That certainly sounds logical to me. I just wonder if in the heat of battle anyone even thought of it. I'm no legal scholar but wonder if Congress can change the law, and if they can, do they have the votes.

  9. First, Tom is right on the constitutional law point. No one is pro-abortion. Pro-choice is legal under law, so how can Congress deny its legality?

    "Lives will be saved and our health care system will reflect the better nature of our country." Sen. Ben Nelson made this statement following his tentative decision to support healthcare reform legislation. How can he have the cojones to make such a statement after refusing to support the legislation until he got his way – not just on the abortion issue, but getting full government Medicaid funding for Nebraska? Sorry you know what!

  10. BJ: He has held the Senate as hostage as JL has. I read somewhere ? that Congressional Dems aren't too happy about this agreement, so it might get dumped later - providing there are enough votes to get beyond him, which seems unlikely.