|December 15, 2009||Posted by ITUP under Blog||
Senator Lieberman has now expressed support for the Senate health reform bill with the removal of the Medicare buy-in, though Ben Nelson is still not officially on board. Some of the issues he raises as problematic are: Medicare Advantage reductions, the CLASS act provision, and abortion language. Look for Senators Snowe and Collins (two pro-choice Centrists) to possibly come back into the picture if Nelson continues to falter, especially now with the removal of the public option.
To supporters of the late public option, it is important to remember that it’s absence does not spell the death of real reform. The bill preserves measures that improve the fundamental shortfalls of the American health care system, including but not limited to the individual mandate, insurance market reform (pre-existing condition exclusions, etc.), expanding Medicaid to low-income individuals, affordability credits for working families, protection for small businesses, and Health Insurance Exchanges that will inject true competition into the insurance market for the benefit of all consumers. This bill will expand coverage to 31 million Americans, protect millions from medical bankruptcy, and spark delivery and payment reform that will reduce costs and improve quality for all. It is a leap towards a American health care system that we can truly be proud of.In reality, the fact that the public option lasted this long as the biggest point of contention probably protected all the above provisions from getting weakened or removed by opponents.
Amendments to allow for importation of prescription drugs failed today, while an amendment from Senator Baucus to protect middle class families from tax increases as a result of reform provisions passed. Head here to watch Obama’s pep-talk after a meeting with Democratic Senators.