Here are some of the latest headlines on the health care debate.
Health Haggling Heats Up
Democratic leaders finally moved their sweeping health bill to the Senate floor, where wheeling and dealing over major unresolved and divisive issues likely will shape the legislation before its next big test.
A handful of Democrat centrists say they can't support the government-sponsored health-insurance plan -- known as the public option -- that is included in the bill. And Democrats are divided over abortion, an issue that nearly derailed the House earlier this month when it narrowly passed a health bill that blocked abortion coverage from federally subsidized insurance plans, including some run by private insurers.
Another growing concern even as the bill progresses is the political heat on Democrats over expanded government spending amid rising unemployment and deficit concerns.
Read more on The Wall Street Journal
McConnell: GOP still has a shot at blocking health bill
Republicans still have a shot at stopping health reform legislation in the Senate, their leader said Monday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested the GOP might be able to stop the Senate's health reform bill after having sounded a pessimistic note after this past Saturday's successful vote to begin debate on the measure.
"I think we've still got a shot," McConnell said during an appearance on the conservative host Sean Hannity's radio show Monday afternoon.
McConnell stopped short of predicting aloud what it would take to block the bill, but sent strong signals that it might lie in targeting centrist Democrats with reservations about the public option and other elements of the legislation.
Read more on The Hill
It is a well known economic policy rule that if you want less of something you tax it, and if you want more of something you subsidize it. Policymakers frequently follow this rule to influence behavior. This is why there are “sin taxes” on things like alcohol and cigarettes, and also why “cap and trade” taxes carbon. This is why there are subsidies for education and for “green” technologies. If taxes and subsidies make any sense at all, they make sense when used to tax “bad” things and subsidize “good” things.
Given this basic rule, can you guess which of these are being subsidized and which taxed in the
Reid Health Bill currently in the Senate?
1. Innovative Medical Companies
2. Medical Devices, such as prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and pacemakers
3. Over-the-counter medicines
4. Privately funded medical care – including private health insurance plans, private medical expenses paid out-of-pocket, and employer-provided care
Read more on Heritage
Key Democrat says Congress will finish healthcare reform by State of the Union
Democrats are absolutely committed to finishing health reform by the State of the Union address, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Monday night.
Brown said that Democrats would work overtime to finish a healthcare bill in the Senate by the end of the year and would work to finish the bill before the late-January speech by President Barack Obama.
"You said 15 work days — there's a lot more than 15, because we're going to be working weekends, we're going to be working into the night," Brown said on MSNBC when asked about the timeline for finishing a bill.
Read more on The Hill
Sweeteners for the South
Staffers on Capitol Hill were calling it the Louisiana Purchase.
On the eve of Saturday's showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn't secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state.
And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote -- and to trumpet the financial "fix" she had arranged for Louisiana. "I am not going to be defensive," she declared. "And it's not a $100 million fix. It's a $300 million fix."
It was an awkward moment (not least because her figure is 20 times the original Louisiana Purchase price).
Read more on The Washington Post
President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) played major roles in allowing Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to retain his committee gavel in 2008.
One year later, Lieberman could end up killing Obama’s and Reid’s No. 1 priority: enacting healthcare reform.
Lieberman has repeatedly vowed that he will not support legislation that includes a public option, a key component of Reid’s new healthcare bill. The Independent from Connecticut also has made it clear he will support a filibuster of a bill that calls for a large government role in administering new healthcare benefits.
Read more on The Hill
ObamaCare’s Winners and Losers
Both Senate and House bills strip nearly half a trillion dollars from Medicare, robbing seniors to expand Medicaid. The Senate bill also spends billions on drug treatment, sex education, translators and romance and relationship lessons (p. 612) that could be used to treat heart disease, cancer and stroke -- the diseases that kill most of us.
Read more on the New York Post
How Health Care Reform Could Fall Apart
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eked out 60 votes on a procedural motion to start the health care debate Saturday night – but there’s no guarantee he can pass a bill on the merits.
And as he struggles, the reasons are clear: deep divides among Democrats on a public insurance plan, abortion, tax hikes and cost-cutting. Liberals want the plan to be generous enough. Moderates fear a budget-buster. And everyone is trying to avoid angering seniors.
Even in the blush of Saturday’s victory, Reid (D-Nev.) is far from having the votes to move his $848 billion package to final passage. At least
four centrists have pledged to oppose it in its current form, largely over the public option. Reid is in a bind. Stay to the left, and moderates vote no. Move a tad to the right, and Reid faces insurrection from the left, as liberals in his own caucus and in the House vow not to compromise any further on their signature issue.
Read more on Politico
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