Today's 411 on health care

Here are some of the latest headlines on the health care debate.

Here are some of the latest headlines on the health care debate. 


Reid Says He’s Hopeful on Health Vote Even With Party Holdouts

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is hopeful he will have the votes needed to begin debate on health legislation even as fellow Democrats raise concerns over issues including abortion to a government-run insurance plan.

“I feel cautiously optimistic that we can do that,” Reid said at the Capitol in Washington today, referring to opening debate on the health-care measure. In the chamber, 60 votes are needed to overcome efforts to block debate.

Read more on Bloomberg


Senate GOP wants CMS to score Reid's bill before debate begins

Senate Republicans have written Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) demanding that an alternate scoring of the health bill be conducted before debate begins.

25 Republicans said in a letter that the Senate's health bill should be allowed a budget analysis by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) before Reid brings his bill to the Senate floor.

"Unfortunately, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has been unable to produce an estimate of the effect of the bills before us on overall medical spending though we note that the CMS Actuary has provided such an assessment of an earlier version of the House health reform bill," wrote the senators, led by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).

Read more on The Hill


Obamacare: Reid’s Secret Bill to be Unveiled Soon

The health care reform debate in the Senate may start this week – at least procedurally. Today or tomorrow, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to move to proceed to either the House passed Pelosicare bill or another tax bill (either an AIG Bonus tax bill or the Uniform Services Tax Bill) in order to start the procedure for a full Senate debate on Obamacare. Although the procedural process will start this week, the full debate on Reid’s bill will not commence until after the Senate’s Thanksgiving Day recess.

Read more on the Foundry



Thune: GOP 'more than happy' to work long hours in health debate

By Michael O'Brien - 11/17/09 08:05 AM ET

Republicans are "more than happy" to work around-the-clock and through the holidays to stop healthcare legislation, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) asserted Monday evening.

After a key Senate chairman, Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said Monday that Democrats would force Republicans to work overnights and weekends throughout December if they stall the health debate, Thune, the Senate's fourth-ranking Republican, said the GOP is more than willing to meet the challenge.

"I guess what I would say is, fine, we'll be here," Thune said Monday evening during an appearance on the Fox Business Network. "If it means stopping this monstrosity, this $3 trillion expansion of the federal government, Republicans are more than happy to stay here if that's what it takes to stop this thing."

Read more on The Hill   


Test vote may come before holiday

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has yet to introduce a health care reform bill, but he is still aiming to schedule a key test vote by the end of the week, Senate aides said Monday.

The vote on a motion to proceed to the bill could come as early as Friday, teeing up the amendment process to begin after the Thanksgiving break.

Reid could attempt to dispense with another procedural hurdle over the weekend. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has threatened to read the entire bill on the Senate floor.

Reid could keep the session over the weekend for the reading, said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Either Coburn or a Republican colleague would need to be on the floor at all times.

“If Republicans want to stay here this Saturday and Sunday to read the bill, we’ll stay here this Saturday and Sunday. We’ll see how many of them really want to support Sen. Coburn,” Harkin said, adding that Democrats can hold a “live quorum,” where the sergeant-at-arms requires every senator to show up in the chamber.

Read more on Politico


Time Crunch Looms for Health Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pressing to advance his version of health-care legislation past a key juncture this week in a bid to avoid a timing crunch that could otherwise kick the proposed revamp into next year.

Republicans will likely filibuster the "motion to proceed," which simply allows the Senate to begin debate. Delaying consideration of the bill until 2010, an election year, could jeopardize its chances and turn the intricacies of the Senate timetable into a political tool for the bill's opponents.

This week could offer a test of Mr. Reid's ability to hold together Democrats and independents in the 60-vote majority needed to shut off any filibuster.

A handful of Democrats remain worried about issues including abortion restrictions and the overall cost of the health package

Read more on the Wall Street Journal   


Stupak: Health Care Bill Will Stall if White House Strips Abortion Restrictions

The author of a controversial amendment restricting federal funding for abortion coverage on Tuesday predicted that health care reform legislation would stall if the White House tries to step in and strip it out. 

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., dismissed a claim by White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod that President Obama would intervene to change the language, saying Axelrod is clueless on the issue and that such an intervention would imperil the bill. 

"They're not going to take it out. If they do, health care will not move forward," Stupak told Fox News. "We won fair and square. ... That's why Mr. Axelrod's not a legislator. He doesn't really know what he's talking about." 

The abortion amendment was tacked on to the House health care bill and was a key factor in securing the votes of moderate Democrats before the bill was approved by a narrow margin earlier this month. The amendment went beyond preventing the proposed government-run plan from covering abortion to restricting federal subsidies from being used for private plans that offer abortion coverage. 

Read more on Fox News


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