As you read this, Senate majority leaders are working to gain the support of the 60 senators needed to pass a health reform bill. Everything is on the table-especially abortion and any form of the public option.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who proposed the Senate version of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, says he will not vote for the final bill without additional restrictions on abortion coverage.
Yesterday, President Obama met with anti-choice Senator Robert Casey (D-Pa.) to discuss options for the handling of abortion coverage.
(Remember the Stupak-Pitts Abortion Ban Amendment came in the 11th hour, in the middle-of-the-night negotiations!)
Another problem facing the Senate Leadership is Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) who has stated that he will not support a public option or a Medicare buy-in. He has threatened to vote to sustain a filibuster if the buy-in option is included.
The “buy-in” is a provision, negotiated last week as an alternative to the public option, that would allow people ages 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare.
However this problem may have been resolved. Senate Democrats met Monday night and appear to have decided to omit both the public option and the Medicare buy-in to appease Senator Lieberman.
Even if the bill passes in the Senate, it is unclear how they expect to sell a no-form-of-public option health care bill to House Democrats who have demonstrated their commitment to the public option.
In an effort to unite the Senate majority around health care reform, President Obama invited all Senate Democrats to the White House this afternoon.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Call your Senators and Tell Them:
1. Not to compromise any further on abortion restrictions in order get the vote of anti-choice Senator Ben Nelson. The Nelson-Hatch amendment which mirrored the Stupak-Pitts amendment has already been defeated, and an abortion compromise should be off the table!
2. Oppose a provision in the Senate bill that allows insurers to set “reasonable” limits on the amount of treatment they will cover in one year. Barring insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging them more wonâ€™t do any good if the insurers can limit the amount of treatment they will cover annually. The very people that suffer now from being denied coverage will be the ones to suffer if insurers are allowed to set annual limits.
3. Keep a public option in the health reform bill to provide real competition for health insurers.
New Yorkâ€™s Senators are Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand.
For Senator Schumer:
For Senator Gillibrand:
If these are not your senators, you can reach your senators through the Capitol switchboard â€” 202-224-3141