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J. Michael Smith, Esq.

Michael P. Farris, Esq.

Health Care Momentum Slowing

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Melanie Palazzo
Federal Relations Department

January 25, 2010

The health care bill’s movement seems to be crawling to a halt. The Senate had passed its comprehensive health care plan, creating new home visitation programs, at 7 a.m. on Christmas Eve with a 60–39 vote. The quickest way that the bill could have been passed is if the House of Representatives voted on the Senate bill “as-is.”

However, when the House looked at the bill, problems arose. Unlike the House health care bill (which passed the House only to sit in the Senate while senators drew up their own bill), the Senate bill did not offer any assurances that federal funds would not go towards abortions. There were 62 Democrats in the House who voted for this assurance to be added to the now-dead House bill. Without being able to offer this assurance, or any other amendments to the Senate bill, the House Democratic leadership was unsure they would be able to pass the bill.

Then on January 21, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that passing the bill “as-is” was not possible and they would have to add amendments. This slows down the process considerably, because now the House will have debates and votes on each amendment. Then the bill, instead of going straight to the president, will have to go back to the Senate for approval of the amendments.

Getting final passage from the Senate has also gotten a little harder. The Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority when on January 19 Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy’s death. While the health care bill looks like it is losing its momentum, there are still some politicians in Washington who will continue to fight for its survival. President Obama promised on January 22 that he would continue “fighting for reform that will hold the insurance industry accountable and bring more stability and security to folks in our health care system.”

HSLDA will continue to monitor the health care bill and provide action e-lerts if any further votes are scheduled. We would like to thank everyone who has taken action on this bill—you have made a tremendous difference.

 Other Resources

For more details on the Senate’s health care bill, please read HSLDA’s legislative analysis.