Senate Democrats on Sunday prepared for a critical hurdle on their healthcare overhaul package, a day after dramatically securing the 60 votes they need to pass the legislation.
Senate Democrats face next challenge in health reform battle
A procedural vote scheduled for early Monday morning could allow Democrats to cut off a Republican-led filibuster. Democrats are hoping to advance their compromise reform measure and pass it by Christmas.
The stage was set on Saturday as Senate leaders announced a deal to land the critical vote of the lone holdout, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). With Nelson on board, Democrats had the 60 votes they needed to cut off debate on the Senate floor and start a process that will see at least two more votes before final passage.
On Sunday, GOP lawmakers took to the Senate floor to knock their Democratic colleagues over the underlying 2,000-plus-page bill and a special 383-page amendment filed just a day before.
“These major kinds of policy matters have historically been bipartisan,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). “We're talking about healthcare involving every American. We're talking about raiding—not strengthening—Medicare, a program that is already in trouble.”
Also on Sunday, the Federation of American Hospitals came out in support of the legislative package.
“It is our belief that (the bill), as amended, will move this country closer to the day when Americans can achieve true health security, knowing that they will have coverage and care that they need when they need it,” FAH President Chip Kahn stated in a letter sent to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Still, Kahn and the association said that several measures, including those to expand coverage and another that toughens a hospital readmission provision, need work.
The American Hospital Association late Sunday sent a letter to Reid supporting the measure. However, the letter expressed concerns about some provisions of the legislation affecting hospital payments, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate-share reimbursement, and hospital readmissions.
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