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 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."
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?