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Senate launches health-care debate, with 2 Democrats undecided

By Paul Kane
In a rare Saturday session, the Senate launched the final hours of debate leading up to a nighttime vote that serves as a critical early test for President Obama's health-care proposal.

Shaping up as a cliffhanger, all but two of the 60 senators in the Democratic caucus have indicated their support for this early vote, which, if successful, serves to begin what will likely be several weeks of debate on dozens of amendments before a possible final vote before Christmas.

Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) needs the last two holdouts - Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) - to reach the 60-vote threshold to move forward with the debate. No Republican senator is expected to vote for this initial step.
In line with Lincoln's demand for a 72-hour period to read the legislation, the key vote is expected at 8 p.m. Saturday, exactly 72 hours from the point Reid unveiled his health-care proposal Wednesday night.

Debate began at 10 a.m., with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) - a 35-year veteran of the Senate - discussing the decades-long effort to achieve national health insurance. Leahy quoted from Obama's address to a joint session of Congress two months ago, just after their close friend, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), died after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Leahy urged his colleagues to pass the legislation in Kennedy's honor.

"What we face above all is a moral issue," Leahy said of Kennedy's wishes.

By Paul Kane  |  November 21, 2009; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Neb.'s Nelson agrees to health debate, leaving two senators undecided
Next: Landrieu to vote yes on key health-care test

Comments

STOP THIS INSANITY NOW!!

WHERE IS THE BILL TO STOP MEDICARE/MEDICAID FRAUD?????

THIS BILL KILLS MEDICARE ADVANTAGE A GREAT PROGRAM!!!

THIS PROGRAM BURIES US WITH MORE DEBT!

WE GET TAXED IMMEDIATELY WITH NO BENEFITS FOR 5 YEARS?????

INSANITY FOR SURE!!

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | November 21, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I have Yet to Hear Anything At all About the Million's of Dollars over our Jails and the Over Crowding of them.

A Big Problem of Jail over crowed is, Over reaching Court to prop up Nationalised "Health Care" Systems forced on "We The People" By the 'Courts'.

Alot of every Day "Cases" are Court Cases Forceing people into Mental Health Care when it is not really needed, Backed by Big Government controled Health Care Drug Companies pushing Union production made drugs places Like Bloomington Indiana and Center Stone is State Tax Supported Health care Nationalised Systems.

I have Not heard anything On Rush Limbaugh ,Hannity and so on anything about that. I do not watch T.V. News if I do not hear from Rush etc I most likly will not hear any-thing about it...He is Right it is State Controled...No wounder People Elected Obama's Nationalistic Democrat Dictator Ship...
11/21/2009 10:47:09 AM

Contack New Leaf New life of Bloomington Indiana.

Posted by: WindSong | November 21, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Republicans need to stop lying to the American people and stop putting corp profit about the money people spend on HC. This is not a gov takeover of healthcare. The private sector still have very imporanmt roles in equipment and cure finding. The private sector simply does a bad job of administering HC due to the primary motivation of profit. There is no money in prevention so they do not want to have that be the primary goal. They make money by keeping you sick. If people want choice of the doctor the wish, then they need to dump the insurance company/ employer based model that does NOT give you your choice of doctor and go with a single payer option. Then people would have their choice of doctors and on the doctor's side so much money would be saved by getting the insurance company bureaucracy out. Insurance companies do notthing bbut help the avg person go bankrupt and be between you and your doctor on medical decisions. Stop the madness and lies of the corporatists.

Posted by: dwdave67 | November 21, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse


STOP THIS INSANITY NOW!!

WHERE IS THE BILL TO STOP MEDICARE/MEDICAID FRAUD?????

THIS BILL KILLS MEDICARE ADVANTAGE A GREAT PROGRAM!!!

THIS PROGRAM BURIES US WITH MORE DEBT!

WE GET TAXED IMMEDIATELY WITH NO BENEFITS FOR 5 YEARS?????

INSANITY FOR SURE!!


VOTE NO JOE LIEBERMAN
VOTE NO LANDRY

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | November 21, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

If it rapes Medicare as it is now or raise the premiums, I am against it. If it is against the law to challenge the citizenship of an individual, there is a loophole that will allow Illegals to free Health Care. So I am against it. If it adversly effects TriCare for Life, I am against it. (I am 75 and Retired Military). If it affect SS i am against it. Hang Tough Ms Lincoln....
I am NOT against a Health Plan that will truly help those who need it and cant afford it....Now how do we do that????

Posted by: faray | November 21, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"In a rare Saturday session, the Senate launched the final hours of debate leading up to a nighttime vote that serves as a critical early test for President Obama's health-care proposal."

This is not President Obama's health care proposal being voted on in the Senate today. It is the Reid proposal that combined health care proposals from two or three different Senate committees, including the Baucus proposal from the Finance Committee. President Obama has been very careful to allow the members of Congress do what they are supposed to do -- craft legislation.

Secondly, this is a procedural vote that will determine whether the Reid proposal will allowed to be debated on the floor of the Senate.

I just wish the WaPo would provide accurate reporting.

Posted by: marmac5 | November 21, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

We are a sad society, that opposses equal health care for all when it only cost 100 billion a year when we pee away 3000 billion on other government spenditures. Maybe we aren't as developed a nation as we so grandly think we are!

Posted by: writedave | November 21, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

These are the steps to make health insurance affordable if you choose to buy it and they are free. The Congress should immediately today pass bills that,
1. Take away the waiver under which insurance companies are not subject to the antitrust laws that all other businesses are subject to. This will bring price fixing and the gouging to an end.
2. Allow health insurance companies to freely sell their product across state lines just as almost everything else is sold. The competition, think WalMart v. Target, McDonalds v. Burger King, will drive prices down and improve the product. That is how America became great, not by socialism.
3. Require insurance companies to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions with incentive provisions attached.
4. Allow all health insurance to be portable.

5. Continue with the State laws requiring all insurance companies to exercise good faith and fair dealing with their customers.

6. Allow the States authority to regulate the health insurance companies within their borders in all matters that do not impinge on the above.

These reforms under an American system of private industry should be implemented before a multi trillion dollar bureaucracy be shoved down the throats of all.

Posted by: mharwick | November 21, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The will vote in teh dead of night....


And after 2 decades of feminizing medicine
by pushing woman to be the face of outrageous growth in costs it now comes down 2 woman.

All the lobbyists think they will be let off the hook and there will be no backlash because they will claim that 'mothers know best' when it comes to healthcare.

baloney

the last 20 years on healthcare has been a dumbing down and selling out of
the health of an entire population fo rthe momey grubbing of a few.

don't do it Sen Lincoln and Landriau it is a trap.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | November 21, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Providing free healthcare for millions of sex workers will help stop the spread of STD. Many do not receive medical attention. The new bill would expand health coverage to all the disenfranchised, ladies of the night included.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | November 21, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

All Senators must keep in mind that this health care reform bill with the public option will cost less than the SALARY INCREASES THAT CONGRESS ALLOWS THEMSELVES over the same period. example. The January 2009 increase of $4,700.00 for 100 Senators and 435 Represenatives cost $2,514,500.00 this year. Added to the increases for the entire decade will well exceed the cost of this bill.
And in addition look at their free health care, the Rolls Royce of public option single payer government taxpayer financed health care, compared to the Yugo model the Senate proposes fot those same US Taxpayers.

Posted by: laurelphoto | November 21, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

jjcrocket wrote>>>THIS BILL KILLS MEDICARE ADVANTAGE A GREAT PROGRAM!!!

Medicare Advantage is a great program for the WEALHY - subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.
Only 20% seniors are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, a PRIVATE Insurance plan concocted by Bush & Repubs that U.S. taxpayers SUBSIDIZE to the tune of $20B annually.
If those WEALTHY SENIORS want more bells and whistles than traditional Medicare - they should pay the difference themselves!

Posted by: angie12106 | November 21, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

MHARWICK WROTE>>>> Take away the waiver under which insurance companies are not subject to the antitrust laws that all other businesses are subject to. This will bring price fixing and the gouging to an end.

Great idea! - except Dems already omitted it to get the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, a former Insurance commissioner.


Posted by: angie12106 | November 21, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

the health insurance industry has had a free ride for way too long. they need to have some sort of pressure put on them and the public option would serve that purpose. i had insurance with the same company for 14 years and paid over $10,000 a year in premiums. in those 10 years, i NEVER had a claim approved; the last straw was when they declined to pay for my pap test because i had not purchased the pregnancy clause. what????? i canceled my policy at that point. this is why there is such widespread disgust and distrust of the insurance industry.

Posted by: northernexposure1 | November 21, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

This bill isn't about health care reform. It's about politicians and their cronies taking over an industry by force.

Posted by: bob59 | November 21, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

For any Democratic Senator to simply refuse to have health care reform debated and discussed doesn't deserve to represent their constituents by conveniently ducking and hiding away from the issue. That is a sign of a coward.

Posted by: TabLUnoLCSWfromUtah | November 21, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

i'm so confused.
are we talking republicans with democratic leanings.....
or democrats with republican leanings???

An average 1.4 million, from insurance companies, is getting doled out to various Senators, under the title of "persuasive perks".....!
Vote the bill down, we'll give you a Mercedes.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | November 21, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Senator Vitter has just spoken against health care reform, particularly he opposes any public option. We might note that the public health care option, which Senator Vitter may access as a member of Congress covers treatment for syphilis and gonorrhea.

Posted by: MikeKelly45 | November 21, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

ANY senator who votes FOR this bill which savages Medicare health care for the elderly, the vulnerable, the chronically sick, and the catastropically ill should be thrown out of office.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | November 21, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

One poster found a provision in bill that allows devices with your medical records on device to be implanted in patient. Senate is fulfilling ancient prophecy written 2,000 years ago.

Posted by: mascmen7 | November 21, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

EVERYONE wants health care reform...libs and Republicans alike. Republicans object to taxing everyone immediately and seeing the benefits START in 5 years....Republicans object to federal funding of abortions (yes it's in there still!)...Republicans object to NO MENTION of tort reform, which is the REAL issue with our current health care system that needs 'reform'....what a crock of a bill....redo. Harry is on the fast track to retirement....2010 starts the "reset."

Posted by: powerange | November 21, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Why can't we have health insurance policies that cover all 50 states. Now policies are limited to one state. We need to stop trial lawyers from getting $100 million ettlements which we all are paying for thanks to Democrats who refuse to have tort reform.

Posted by: mascmen7 | November 21, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

HR 3962 is a shadow of what it was in the House.
This is gettin' massacred.

The vote today or tonight, won't mean a thing. President Obama may be getting ready to veto. The intent of the bill is lost.
Thanks Senate

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | November 21, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

ANY senator who votes FOR this bill which savages Medicare health care for the elderly, the vulnerable, the chrocically sick, and the catastropically ill should be thrown out of office.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | November 21, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Please stop referring to this bill as "health-care reform." It is a bill to make Americans think that the Democrats are effecting reform. This is a sham, worse than no bill. Candidate Obama promised us a health-care system that was as good as what he as a Senator enjoyed. President Obama has sold us out. And for what? "For Wales, Thomas?" For four more years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? IS that what he thought he could get by appeasing the insurance and drug and hospital-corporation industries and the members of Congress who are in their pockets?

Posted by: farhorizons | November 21, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Speaking about health care, some of you need to take your meds.

Posted by: hodgensrn | November 21, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

heck, in the Senate, it's Affordable Health Choices Act and America's Healthy Future Act.

It came from the House being the Affordable Healthcare for America Act.

The press reported it recently as Health Insurance Reform Act.

I hope President Obama vetoes. Wouldn't that be a kick!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | November 21, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Not so surprising; a millions dollars is hard to snub. I actually feel a bit sorry for Landrieu, though. She's really between a rock and a hard place with this one. However, I think in the end, it will cost her anyway since that million won't do much for those not on Medicaid.

Posted by: Lilycat11 | November 21, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The vote to begin debating this piece of legislative insanity insures that many Democrats that have been unresponsive to their constituents are now serving their last term. I can guarantee that the pressure will be unrelenting, and these members of Congress will be retired in 2010. The citizens of this great country will work day and night to force these communists from office. We will sacrifice financially to support opposition candidates. As soon as a new Congress is elected, legislation will be introduced to withhold congressional pensions from those legislators who have defied the will of the people. We will work not only to remove these Marxists, but to destroy their gravy train. Members of Congress that ignore the will of the people deserve nothing. We will work to turn them out to pasture without the benefits of their corruption. It is past time for the citizens of America to put an end to the "club" that spits on the common man. These elites are about to discover their true status.

Posted by: jerdjon | November 21, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I watched the voting and the speeches made by the various senators yesterday and was shocked that they feel it fair to charge people money for something that they will not even have for 4 or 5 years.

We do not want a glorified medicaid plan and all you are doing is changing the name from Medicare to Medicaid to cover seniors less and the uninsured more.

We have been paying into this for years and we demand our rights and that is the right to have medical treatment of any kind our doctor deems necessary. We have already paid for it and we think it is a sin to as us to pay more for the ones who just plain do not wish to pay or carry insurance.

Carrying health insurance in many instances is the choice that the people have made and many do not want it for they know medicaid will cover them.

Many are etitled to the VA benefits and many of these benefits get abused. The government needs to control the tax dodgers (Many in Washington) and the people who rip the country off. (If you spent as much time on this as you are on the health care package we would all be better off.

The government is dictating so much and now they want to throw some more on the states who have to balance a budget so who will they pass it on to. The taxpayers!!! How much do you think the people can stand between the state and the federal government douple dipping us:?

Government I do not want more of you in my household but less. Dig into your own pockets but leave ours alone. You need to get out here and get to know the situation instead of sitting in Washington wrangling over our healthcare. Support Medicare and make it stronger.........what good is a supplement if Medicare does not pay for they pick up after Medicare.

During my elder years I do not think it fair that you do this to seniors. Go clean out your own closets and see where you can find some money to help. You got a raise and take ours to do some other programs. SHAME ON YOU!

WE WANT OUR INSURANCE LEFT ALONE AND FEEL YOU WILL NOT ONLY BREAK US BUT ALSO OUR STATES.

TELL OBAMA WE WANT THE TAX REMOVED FROM OUR SOCIAL SECURITY AS HE PROMISED DURING HIS CAMPAIGN. WHERE ARE THE DEMOCRATS THAT THEY DO NOT ATTACK THIS ISSUE.

Posted by: edfrienz | November 22, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

LETS SEE NOW OBAMA SAID HE WOULD TAKE THE UNFAIR TAX OFF OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND NOW HE IS PLANNING ON TAXING PEOPLE MORE IN ORDER TO GET THIS HEALTHCARE PLAN WHICH WE WILL PAY FOR FOR 5 YEARS BEFORE IT WE EVEN GET IT.

DEMOCRATS WHERE ARE YOU THAT YOU TO NOT ASK OBAMA TO DO WHAT HE PROMISED. ALL YOU DO IS SIT AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT SOME OTYHER RIDICULOUS PLAN THAT WILL COST US MORE.

GO BACK AND READ THE PRIOR SPEECHES AND YOU WILL NOTE THAT WORDS MEAN NOTHING. ACTIONS DO. WE WERE ALSO TOLD ME WOULD HAVE THE SAME INSURANCE AS THE PRESIDENT AND THE SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN BUT WHAT HAPPENED? TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THESE PROMISES.

THE STATES WOULD HAVE TO TAX US ALSO AND WE WILL ALL BE IN THE POOR HOUSE BUT EVERYONE IN WASHINGTON WILL HAVE GOOD INSURANCE AND ALSO THEIR RAISES. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU. GIVE YOUR RAISES BACK TO HELP WITH ALL OF THIS EXPENSE OF ADS ON TELEVISION AND WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO FORCE ON US.

FROM THE STATE OF NC I SAY GOD BLESS AMERICA FOR NO ONE ELSE SEEM TO BE BLESSING IT ON THE HILL.

PELOSI DID YOU REALLY NEED THAT BIG AIRPLANE OR IS IT JUST FOR SHOW. YOU HAVE PLENTY WITHOUT IT SO YOU SPENT MONEY UNWISELY TOO.

Posted by: edfrienz | November 22, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Newspaper coverage of the health care debate may well miss coverage of the real issue raised by some of the world's best senators, that health care is all about power.

Anytime, anyone has coverage by a thirdparty (insurers or state) for srvices by a secondparty (doctors or medics) to themselves there is the real risk that the service will be provided, billed, charged for and paid without any genuine consultation with the recipient - this is what happens routinely within the British and German, nationalised and private industries - real people are not really consulted about their own care - boxes are ticked, work is done and billed for and whether the patient is actually any better off is completely incidental to the economic turnover that is the prime mover of the administered system.

The solutions to this systemic "corruption" of care are not easy, but requiring a nominal up-front payment by all patients except in real A&E cases, like the french system is a sane method of putting the breaks on the run-away treatment and escalating costs of a system that panders for instant and unrealistic medical gratification.

Terence D. Carroll, BA, MA

Posted by: tdcarroll | November 23, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

"LP Beria, Psycho-Politics Address on Health Care and Control" at Lenin University said the only thing that could stop CONTROL OF THE PEOPLE through Health Care was Faith Healing in the Pentecostal Bible and Eddy and James teachings and it must be discredited and wiped out. Also see “45 Communist Goals For Take Over Of America.” .... Details of threats at http://www.divine-way.com with what we can do about it.

My faith says to believe God and not man for healing; I have seen God heal what doctors say is impossible. Congress cannot force me to go against my religion. That is in the Constitution

Marie Devine
http://www.divine-way.com
God has solutions to world problems we created by ignoring His wisdom.

Posted by: MarieDevine | November 23, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I saw this article on yahoo:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599194212800

Key points

1) 61% of Americans are very interested in healthcare reform

2) 1 in 5 believe that this kind of reform can be done without taxes being raised on them

3) 59% of Americans are FAULTING the Republicans for not working with the democrats on this bill ...

This is something that should really concern republicans ... it certainly concerns and gets me mad me as an independent.

Most Republicans are likely thinking "To hell with the Democrats, we hate this bill" probably most Republicans are also thinking "we want to screw this bill up as much as possible" ...

That is why I as an independent am angry with the Republicans or at least the obstructionist religious right. Many Republicans are so partisan that they would rather see a bill that is bad for the country than partner and build a better bill ...

and that is something that I cannot forgive ...

It is important that the Republicans join in because they can help remove alot of the political pork that the Democrats will have to add to the bill to get it passed ... and pass it they surely will.

The key point the hard core religious right need to understand that when this bill squeaks through the senate it's going to contain alot of pork and projects that have nothing to do with good healthcare to bring the last remaining Democrats on board

And I blame YOU on the religious right for that fact ... you should be concerned about how many other Americans (i.e. 59%) will feel the same.

Posted by: fjt123 | November 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I saw this article on yahoo:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599194212800

Key points

1) 61% of Americans are very interested in healthcare reform

2) 1 in 5 believe that this kind of reform can be done without taxes being raised on them

3) 59% of Americans are FAULTING the Republicans for not working with the democrats on this bill ...

This is something that should really concern republicans ... it certainly concerns and gets me mad me as an independent.

Most Republicans are likely thinking "To hell with the Democrats, we hate this bill" probably most Republicans are also thinking "we want to screw this bill up as much as possible" ...

That is why I as an independent am angry with the Republicans or at least the obstructionist religious right. Many Republicans are so partisan that they would rather see a bill that is bad for the country than partner and build a better bill ...

and that is something that I cannot forgive ...

It is important that the Republicans join in because they can help remove alot of the political pork that the Democrats will have to add to the bill to get it passed ... and pass it they surely will.

The key point the hard core religious right need to understand that when this bill squeaks through the senate it's going to contain alot of pork and projects that have nothing to do with good healthcare to bring the last remaining Democrats on board

And I blame YOU on the religious right for that fact ... you should be concerned about how many other Americans (i.e. 59%) will feel the same.

Posted by: fjt123 | November 23, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Why do the Democrats in Congress have to make the "public option" of the health care bill so complicated and controversial? Just mandate that every insurance company selling policies in a state must offer identical health care coverage packages through a government “clearing house” to every uninsured person wishing to purchase health insurance. The packages must be offered at a cost no more than xx % above the cost they charge to their corporate clients, which is only allowed to cover higher administrative costs, if any. The government shall only act as the collector of premiums and purchaser of these "group" policies from the providers. The Government shall not dictate any operations / policies of the insurance companies, except as mandated in law for all health care policies offered, and shall also ensure that policies offered are identical. This accomplishes three major objectives: first, no one currently insured will flee from their current plan since the “government” option will probably cost more, second, the government has a vehicle to enforce mandatory participation, and third if applicable to the individual, the government will be able to subsidize those in need through the collections and payment process. Granted this is just a framework but it would appease all those against the public option.

Posted by: arthurkohn | November 24, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

We shouldn't be pushing Democrat or Republican here. We should be seeking the Truth!

But then again connecting the word "Truth" with Republican or Democrat just doesn't mix. Sorry!

Posted by: rdm4069 | November 24, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

KILL THE SO-CALLED BILL
A NIGHTMARE FOR WE THE PEOPLE
A CASH COW FOR THE DEMOCRATS
THEY WILL ROB EVERY LAST DIME
LEAVING THE PEOPLE WITH
G.L.A.D. BAGS TO BURY THEMSELVES
IN.

Posted by: boski66 | November 24, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

ARE THEY GOING TO SHOVE IT DOWN OUR THROATS OR STICK IT UP OUR ---? MAYBE BOTH?

Posted by: HEGARTY111 | November 25, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Nevada former Governor Bob List stated the following in a conference call arranged by the Republican National Committee. The comments were reported by Lisa Mascaro in the Las Vegas Sun on Monday, Nov. 23, 2009
------------------
"I think it’s incorrect to say these people don’t have health care," "The public hospital treats anybody who walks in the door, in the emergency room, or claims an emergency or they need health care. So it’s a misnomer to say these people are without health care. They may be without insurance, many of them are."
---------
This kind of rationalization is what has caused our national health care problems and if the mind set is not changed we will continue to see insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and big business continue to destroy the well being of the average American citizen.

Posted by: DAlnB | November 27, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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