President Barack Obama has signed into law the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. health care since Medicare, but one last chapter in the epic struggle is still playing out in the Senate.
Senators are debating a package of fixes to the new health law, demanded by House Democrats as their price for passing the mammoth overhaul legislation that will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans over the next decade. Obama signed the bill on Tuesday, declaring "a new season in America" as he sealed a victory denied to a line of presidents stretching back more than half a century.
The fix-it bill under consideration in the Senate eliminates a special Medicaid deal for Nebraska from the new law, softens a tax on insurance plans that was repugnant to organized labor, sweetens the pot with more expansive subsidies for lower-income people and offers more generous prescription drug coverage to seniors, among other changes.
Its approval at the end of this week is virtually assured, since it's being debated under fast-track budget rules that allow passage with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes usually required for action in the 100-seat Senate. Democrats control 59 Senate seats.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Senate writing final chapter to health care bill
Senate writing final chapter to health care bill; The Associated Press