Senate begins health care 'vote-a-rama'
By Shailagh Murray
The Senate has rejected the first four Republican amendments to the health-care "fixes" bill, but lawmakers face at least 19 more votes as they embark on a marathon "vote-a-rama" to complete the legislation either tonight or on Thursday.
The defeated provisions would have altered key elements of the legislation signed by President Obama on Tuesday. One amendment would have rescinded over $500 billion in Medicare savings included in the bill to fund a massive coverage expansion. Another would have killed an array of smaller measures that benefit particular states or regions. Others would have scaled back tax increases that target individuals with adjusted incomes of under $200,000 and struck a requirement that employers offer affordable coverage to their workers or face penalties.
Only a handful of Democrats defected on each provision, suggesting the fixes package would eventually be easily approved. Because it was written under special budget reconciliation rules, just 50 Democratic votes are needed for passage. Although much smaller than underlying legislation, the "fixes" bill includes major changes to the original bill, like an increase in federal subsidies for uninsured people, higher Medicare tax for wealthy individuals, and new rules for insurance companies that hinder their ability to deny coverage.
March 24, 2010; 7:07 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Health Care
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