The Senate voted early this morning to file cloture, or move forward, in the final steps toward passing its health overhaul bill. The vote was not certain when the weekend began, and only after Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., announced his support did the action proceed. Reid is now saying a final vote will take place by Christmas.
Bloggers were recovering from a busy weekend, trying to make sense of the big picture as the legislation moves forward.
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky notes, “The Senators voted from their desks — a customary practice reserved for the most significant votes. Once the presiding president read the final tally, Democrats rushed over to congratulate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).” He posts video of the vote, below:
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein compares the Senate’s version with President Obama’s campaign health plan. Klein notes that the public plan was dropped and Obama didn’t initially include an individual mandate,
But whether you love the Senate bill or loathe it, whether you’re impressed by Obama’s effort or disappointed, it is very hard to argue that the bill Congress looks likely to pass is fundamentally different from the approach Obama initially advocated. “The Obama-Biden plan both builds on and improves our current insurance system,” the campaign promised, and on that, for better or for worse, they’ve delivered.
Despite Klein’s conclusion that the plan isn’t very different from Obama’s campaign promise, Heritage’s Conn Carroll says the Senate bill’s passage “is only the beginning of a much larger health care fight.” He continues, “This bill will only make every single problem with out health care system worse: higher spending, higher deficits, and worse care. Former-Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said on Meet the Press yesterday, ‘[This bill] simply sets us on a track in this country which is expensive and where we’re going to have lots more political fights.’ Dean is dead on. President Barack Obama’s signature on this health care bill settles nothing.”
Jacob Goldstein of the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog looks at Congressional Budget Office estimates released this weekend that found certain provisions are estimated to make little difference: “During all the last-minute action this weekend, CBO put out its estimates on the latest version of the Senate bill. As it turns out, replacing the public option with private plans overseen by a government agency — a sort of “public option lite” that was a key part of the compromise — makes almost no difference to how the bill would work in the real world, according to CBO.”
Grace-Marie Turner lists 12 “constituencies that will be gored, to which senators will have to answer next time they go before the voters.” She includes “everyone.”
Huffington Post’s Drew Westen is disappointed with Obama’s leadership, saying his actions “soured” young people to politics:
Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process. It isn’t hard for them to see that the winners seem to be the same no matter who the voters select (Wall Street, big oil, big Pharma, the insurance industry). In fact, the president’s leadership style, combined with the Democratic Congress’s penchant for making its sausage in public and producing new and usually more tasteless recipes every day, has had a very high toll far from the left: smack in the center of the political spectrum.
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein notes that some health insurance stocks are rising this morning.
James Capretta takes a closer look at the final version and says it’s “still a budget buster.”
And from the other perspective, Health Beat Blog’s Maggie Mahar has a series of posts looking at the details, including potential affordability challenges for older Americans, Ben Nelson’s abortion compromise and the “glass half empty/glass half full” viewpoints.
Mark Trahant reports that the Indian Health Care Improvement Act is in both the Senate and House versions.
And in the wake of the coming vote, Bob Laszewski wonders, “Is there anyone left, on either side of the political spectrum, who wants the Senate health care bill to pass?”