Senate passes reconciliation bill 56-43

Senate Republicans failed to derail passage of the budget reconciliation bill containing changes to the health insurance reform bill and to the student loan program. The vote was 56-43, with all but three Democrats (Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska) voting yes and all Republicans present voting no. The Democratic strategy was to defeat all proposed amendments, so no Democrat offered an amendment to put a public health insurance option in the bill. However, some changes to the part of the bill dealing with Pell grants were made, which means the amended version of the reconciliation bill will have to go back to the House for another vote.

I assume the House will have the votes to pass the amended reconciliation bill. In theory, House Democrats could try to add a public health insurance option, but that would require another vote in the Senate. I think leadership wants to declare victory on this issue and move on.

Speaking of health insurance reform, it turns out the bill Obama just signed had a loophole that will allow insurers to keep denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions until 2014. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claims this can be fixed through rule-making, but we'll see. I suspect insurance companies will be able to work around most of the supposedly tough regulations in the new law.

Tags: Congress, House, Senate, health care reform, health insurance reform, Reconciliation, health insurance reform, Reconciliation (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Good to see you here, desmoniesdem.

I ahve not been around MyDD much, and I like the new format.  Hard to fix the loophole through regulation is it is not in the statute.  Courts could overturn it.  The loophole was probbaly one of those good Republican ideas that Dems put in the bill.  :-)

by TomP 2010-03-25 03:35PM | 0 recs
RE: Good to see you here, desmoniesdem.

I would guess that a Baucus staffer/insurance industry lobbyist put this big "surprise" in the bill.

I would also bet $100 that rescissions will continue under some other loophole.

by desmoinesdem 2010-03-25 04:02PM | 0 recs
huh?

How did that slip by?

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-03-25 04:13PM | 0 recs
RE: huh?

Insurance industry lobbyists had a large hand in writing the Senate health care reform bill. That's the source of many problems with the bill.

by desmoinesdem 2010-03-25 07:32PM | 0 recs
For the life of me

I can't understand Ben Nelson's logic on voting against this.  How can it possibly help to be against fixes to a bill that was widely considered to be a mess.  A mess, mind you, in large part because of how Nelson inserted himself into the process at the end.  It seems Nelson's only route for plausible deniability would be to vote for Reconciliation and to claim that the negotiating process between he and Reid last December went awry somehow.  Now, what's he going to run on?  "I was in favor of Health Care Reform until it actually mattered, dammit!".  Doesn't sound like a winning strategy to me.

by the mollusk 2010-03-25 04:58PM | 0 recs
RE: For the life of me

Nelson is done. I think he will retire rather than go through the humiliation of losing in 2012. But I agree with you, his vote makes no sense.

The same could be said for his votes against all of the recent jobs bills considered lately, extending unemployment benefits, etc.

by desmoinesdem 2010-03-25 07:30PM | 0 recs
loop hole

Could the house fix the loop hole this time arround?  I realize that the Senate would have to pass it again, leaving the possiblity of a republican change requiring the house to approve again.  I too would like to see things finished but since we have the senate bill and the house can always approve the last thing approved by the Senate (assuming the votes are there). I say close the loophole and add the public option.

by goodleh 2010-03-25 05:37PM | 0 recs
RE: loop hole

I doubt it, because regulating who insurance companies have to cover probably wouldn't survive the Byrd rule (reconciliation process can be used only for bills that affect the deficit).

Let's say my child has asthma. If I understand the problem correctly, the new bill would still allow insurers to refuse to sell me a policy because of my child's asthma. What they won't be able to do (and have done in the past) is sell me a policy with a rider that says they won't pay for any medical costs associated with my child's asthma.

by desmoinesdem 2010-03-25 07:32PM | 0 recs
RE: loop hole

It will be interesting to see what happens now. IMO the only workable solution is for the Insurance Companies to institute a 'community-rating' system for children. I'm not betting that they will, but that's what they will have to do.

Alternately I wonder what will happen if a parent lies about his childs pre-existing condition. Since once enrolled the insurance companies can't refuse to cover it...

by vecky 2010-03-26 01:52AM | 0 recs
Is Lincoln influencing Pryor's vote?

A lot of Senators who are of the same party and represent the same state tend to coordinate their votes with their fellow Senator.  Snowe and Collins rarely vote different ways.  Is Blanche Lincoln's race to the right dragging Pryor with her?

by bpfish 2010-03-26 02:45PM | 0 recs

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