Daily Health Care News – 12/22/09
Democrats Face Challenge in Merging Health Bills – New York Times
Even as the Senate took a significant step toward passing its version of a sweeping overhaul of the health insurance system before Christmas, Democrats were grappling Monday with deep internal divisions over abortion, the issue that most complicates their drive to merge the Senate and House bills and send final legislation to President Obama.
Even if the Senate healthcare bill is approved, reconciling it to the House bill will take a concerted effort on three major points: who bears the cost, the public option, and abortion funding.
Investors are seeing the Senate’s version of health care reform as a massive public subsidy for insurance companies — and as a result, are sending the sector’s stock prices shooting up, up, up. Stripped of a government-run insurance plan, the bill would give tens of millions of Americans no option but to start paying hefty premiums to private companies.
Public option tensions linger – Politico
Just hours after a critical Monday morning vote in the Senate, Democrats were already talking about future changes to the health reform effort in hopes of calming a revolt among liberal activists.
A final vote on the Senate healthcare bill is on track to happen Christmas Eve.
With a healthcare overhaul inching closer to reality, Democrats looking to next year’s midterm elections plan to market the bill as a way to help voters who are focused more on unemployment and the economy.
The administration is to blame for the public option’s exclusion from healthcare legislation, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Monday.
As the health care bill moves toward a critical vote in the Senate, the five senators charged with overseeing the floor debate count health interests among their biggest campaign contributors, records show.
This evening, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) took to the Senate floor to “declare” his support for the health care bill and explain his opposition to the public option and the Medicare buy-in. Lieberman, who has previously insisted that the White House never pressured him to support the public plan, argued that the popular provision is “not necessary” and suggested that President Obama never advocated on its behalf.
As the president’s job performance numbers and ratings on his handling of virtually every domestic issue have fallen below 50 percent, the Democratic base has become demoralized, and Independents have gone from his source of strength to his Achilles Heel, it’s time to reflect on why. The conventional wisdom from the White House is those "pesky leftists" — those bloggers and Vermont Governors and Senators who keep wanting real health reform, real financial reform, immigration reform not preceded by a year or two of raids that leave children without parents, and all the other changes we were supposed to believe in.
A Bill Well Worth Passing – New York Times
The health care reform bill that Senate Democratic leaders have cobbled together to win support from all 60 members of their fractious caucus — the filibuster-proof majority needed to ensure passage — has drawn scornful attacks from a united Republican opposition. It is causing anguish among liberals who fear too much has been given away to a handful of conservatives.
(compiled for Health Care for America Now)