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Posted by on Nov 19, 2009 in Breaking News, Economy, Health, Politics, Religion | 5 comments

The Senate Health Care Bill Has Been Released

The entire text is online. It’s 2,074 pages. Via Ron Chusid, who has a reading plan:

I think I’ll watch Glee tonight and wait for Fox or the right wing blogs to review the plan. Then I’ll assume that the actual facts are the opposite.

From what I have heard so far (via progressive lawmakers like Tom Harkin and Chuck Schumer on Olbermann and Maddow earlier tonight) is that it’s really strong. It has a public option (opt-out, but that’s a lot better than opt-in or a trigger), and the price tag is $849 billion. Here’s more initial coverage from CNN:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a sweeping health care bill Wednesday that would expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans at an estimated cost of $849 billion over 10 years.Reid and other Senate Democrats cited an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office for the coverage and cost figures.

In addition, they said at a news conference, the budget office estimated that the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years and by more than $600 billion in the following decade.

The CBO figures were preliminary, the Senate Democratic leadership said in a media briefing. The CBO was expected to provide its final analysis later Wednesday or on Thursday, according to the briefing.

And the Stupak Amendment is gone! Apparently, Harry Reid has kept some restrictive language in the bill to keep anti-choice Democrats aboard, but it’s more along the lines of the language that was already in the House and Senate committee versions:

The original committee versions of the House and Senate bills already included limits on federal funding for abortion services but they did not go far enough to satisfy anti-abortion-rights Democrats like Stupak and Nelson.

Finding a middle ground will be a challenge, said Nelson. “The problem is, any kind of compromise leaves it somewhat short to one or both parties,” he said.An existing law, known as the Hyde amendment, already prohibits federal money from paying for abortions except in cases or rape or incest or when the woman’s life is endangered. Anti-abortion-rights lawmakers, however, argued that the House bill and the measures approved by two Senate committees would have circumvented that law.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who supports abortion rights, said Reid’s new provisions would preserve the Hyde amendment while enabling people to buy insurance plans with abortion coverage on the exchange.

“We’re basically going to keep current law, which is what we ought to do,” Kerry said after the Democratic caucus meeting.

I will have more coverage and reaction on the bill as it comes in.

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