Dec 23 2009

Progressives and Republicans Call for Defeat of Healthcare Bill

Feature Stories | Published 23 Dec 2009, 10:55 am | Comments Off on Progressives and Republicans Call for Defeat of Healthcare Bill -

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healthcare billThe United States Senate voted 60 to 39 yesterday morning on the last of several procedural votes paving the way for a final Christmas Eve vote on the massive healthcare overhaul that has occupied much of Congress and the White House this past year. In overcoming the last hurdle to a filibuster-proof 60 votes, Democrats made sweet-heart deals with certain Senators. Among them is Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who opposed the bill saying he wanted no federal subsidies connected to insurance-provided abortions. Nelson eventually conceded after being promised full and permanent coverage of his state’s expanded Medicaid pool. The bill mandates health insurance coverage for all Americans, providing subsidies for some, and exemptions for others, creates a private insurance market place for individuals to buy plans, expands the medicaid program, eventually prohibits discrimination against sick people, and increases funding for community clinics. However it also allows insurance companies to charge elderly people exorbitant rates, and gives drug companies monopolies to curb the sales of generic drugs. And so Republicans woke up this week to find strange bedfellows: Progressives who are opposing the bill because of too many giveaways to the health insurance industry. In recent days Howard Dean, former chair of the DNC, and the SEIU have been joined by the National Nurses United, the newly formed largest national nurses union in the country, and Physicians for a National Health Program, in calling for a no vote on the bill.

GUEST: David Himmelstein, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, Michael Lighty, Director of Public Policy at the National Nurses United

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