Now it goes to the House.
December 21, 2009 4:49 AM   Subscribe

After a long debate process, the Senate version of the Health Care bill has been passed, with 60 votes for, 40 against. Write-up at the NY Times, shorter ones at Politico and NPR (but expect more buzz as the day goes on).
posted by ®@ (49 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This was a cloture vote, not passage. Not that a post about that couldn't be okay if it was done well, but this is misleading and there's a long way to go and so this is pretty weird as is. -- cortex



 
Don't forget this write-up at the NYTimes that details the massive amounts of pork required to get the oh-so-principled "moderate" Dems on board. The same ones who tut-tutted about the public option were bought off with massive Medicare and Medicaid subsidies for their states. Surprise surprise.
posted by xthlc at 4:52 AM on December 21, 2009


The first paragraph of your first link makes clear that this was a cloture vote (i.e., to cut off debate), not a vote on passage, which the third paragraph indicates will occur on Christmas Eve.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:57 AM on December 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Much ado but no ballyhoo.
posted by The White Hat at 5:10 AM on December 21, 2009


Yeah, this is great news, but it's misleading; it hasn't been passed, and it's premature to pop the corks. There are several more votes to go before it's passed, which means Joe Lieberman has several more chances to screw the Democrats over. Fingers crossed.
posted by EarBucket at 5:11 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


And now with the headline grabbing "FIRST VOTE!!1" out of the way, they can get a rational version that idiots like Nelon, Landrieu and Lieberman will vote for....right?

If there's a mandate with no public option, I will not be voting for Democrats in 2010/12. I'll be voting for some leftist party.
posted by DU at 5:15 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by fatllama at 5:15 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Republicans at least stood on principle, and acted with humanity and class, in their opposition to health care for all:
At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon -- nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation's passage -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That's what they ought to pray."

It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads -- but without his vote, Democrats wouldn't have the 60 they needed.

. . . .

Coburn was wearing blue jeans, an argyle sweater and a tweed jacket with elbow patches when he walked back into the chamber a few minutes before 1 a.m. He watched without expression when Byrd was wheeled in, dabbing his eyes and nose with tissues, his complexion pale. When his name was called, Byrd shot his right index finger into the air as he shouted "aye," then pumped his left fist in defiance.
posted by orthogonality at 5:15 AM on December 21, 2009 [24 favorites]


If there's a mandate with no public option, I will not be voting for Democrats in 2010/12. I'll be voting for some leftist party.

And don't you dare call this shooting myself in the foot. I don't vote for Democrats because I want Democrats in office. I vote for Democrats because I want *policies that help people*. If Democrats don't give me those, why should I vote for them?
posted by DU at 5:19 AM on December 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


If there's a mandate with no public option, I will not be voting for Democrats in 2010/12. I'll be voting for some leftist party.

That'll show 'em. I think a more practical approach is to give money and support to primary contenders for blue-dog democrat seats.
posted by deliquescent at 5:19 AM on December 21, 2009


primary contenders for blue-dog democrat seats.

Yes, because the Progressive Caucuses have done *such* a great job of holding firm to the various compromises they made over the last year.
posted by DU at 5:21 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


hey everybody, did you hear that DU isn't happy with the democrats? he said so like a hundred times so he must really mean it.
posted by billysumday at 5:32 AM on December 21, 2009


Like many of you, I supported a public insurance option to increase competition. I’m disappointed that provision isn’t in this bill. But what is in this bill is a significant step toward our goal of universal coverage.

This bill will end annual and lifetime limits on the dollar value of your benefits. Eliminating preexisting condition exclusions for all new medical plans and funding high-risk pools to insure those with preexisting conditions who are currently without insurance means Minnesotans won’t be locked in their jobs or afraid to start their own businesses for fear of losing coverage. Requiring that 85 cents of every premium dollar go toward coverage will limit insurers’ profits and skyrocketing insurance premiums.

These are all real, strong reforms that this bill enacts with the urgency this crisis demands. Small businesses will immediately receive tax credits to make covering employees more affordable, and insurers will have to cover recommended preventive services at no cost to the patient. Again, these changes take effect immediately.

In coming years, health insurance exchanges will be created to give more Americans access to affordable coverage. For those who already have coverage, but live in fear that they're just an illness or pink slip away from losing their health insurance, this bill provides the peace of mind that comes with access to secure, stable, affordable coverage.

These reforms are fiscally responsible and crucial to our long-term economic health. By bringing down costs and focusing on prevention and high-value health care, more Americans will get screenings to prevent diseases before they become costly and disabling. We’ll also make providers accountable for making people healthier, rewarding them for efficient care. In the end, this bill will save money and keep our country healthier while cutting the deficit by $132 billion in the first ten years and $650 billion in the second ten.

The plain simple truth is, because of this legislation crafted by Leader Reid and others in the Senate, 31 million more Americans will have affordable health insurance and the growth in health care costs for families will be dramatically diminished. For those reasons and the many I outlined here, today I am proud to announce my strong support for this historic step toward universal health care in America.

--Al Franken
posted by EarBucket at 5:32 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


And don't you dare call this shooting myself in the foot.

OK, I'll call it what it is: voting Republican. In 2000 I made the mistake of thinking there was no difference between the two parties, and it's not a mistake I will make again.

Unless you have the momentum to create a new party large and powerful enough to displace one of the big two (realistically right now that would be the Republicans), you need to pick one and work from within to straighten it out or accept that your views will be forever marginalized.
posted by localroger at 5:32 AM on December 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald just pointed out on Democracy Now that without a public option, this bill is actually worse than nothing, because it requires people to buy in to private insurance which increases their monopoly power. It penalizes anyone who doesn't buy for-profit insurance, as well as giving the industry billions in handouts for their trouble. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Greenwald also explained how Obama and Rahm Emanuel explicitly prevented a public option from passing-- which means that I'll be voting for the Green Party in 2012 as well.
posted by shii at 5:36 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can completely sympathize with anyone feeling angst over the loss of the public option. But speaking purely in terms of social policy, there's a lot to like about this bill.

On preview: what Franken said.
posted by sidesh0w at 5:36 AM on December 21, 2009


And don't you dare call this shooting myself in the foot.

A third-party candidate is not going to be elected. So please, explain how we'd be getting a better health care reform bill from President McCain, Vice President Palin, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and Speaker Boehner.
posted by EarBucket at 5:37 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't like the compromises they had to make, but they were in a bit of a tough spot: conservative democrats have no driving interest to pass this legislation, and given the razor thin margin to pass this thing that gave them a lot of power. The solution is to get as many of those seats as possible into the hands of more progressive candidates, in my eyes.

Part of this comes from my experience with Bush v Gore... I voted for Nader (gah) because I wasn't happy with the clinton administration policies. I wanted to send a message, but things got worse. Much, much worse.

of course, my vote at the time was in virginia, so it wouldn't have changed much, but still
posted by deliquescent at 5:39 AM on December 21, 2009


localroger, the Democrats right now have a supermajority in the House and Senate as well as a Democratic President. They did not use reconciliation, they did not wring anyone's wrists. If this is the party you hope to reform, where exactly would you start?
posted by shii at 5:39 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote for Democrats because I want *policies that help people*. If Democrats don't give me those, why should I vote for them?

There's an argument to be made that Democrats hold more progressive policies than Republicans, and that Democrats are more likely to actually win seats than any other left-wing party, so if your aim is "policies that help people," voting Democrat would be about as best you can do in the practical sense.

On the other hand, there's also the argument that by voting for another left-wing party, Dems will see all those votes piling up in that column, and wonder what they can do to win these people over, and change their platform accordingly. Also, there's the notion that if enough people vote Green or socialist or whatever, they might actually win.

I think all these positions have their rhetorical strengths. The measure of how accurate they are is what the results have been in practice. Whatever you do, I think a vote isn't just a voice or a means of protest against a party, but a means by which you try to shape society. How you can best achieve that is up to you. I applaud your conviction either way.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:40 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


EarBucket: "A third-party candidate is not going to be elected." Bernie Sanders would be surprised to hear that.
posted by shii at 5:40 AM on December 21, 2009


Yeah, a third-party senator got elected from a tiny, super-liberal state. In most of the country, though, that's simply not a realistic option.
posted by EarBucket at 5:44 AM on December 21, 2009


Honestly, I keep asking myself, why did Joe Lieberman vote for cloture, unless he thinks this bill will aid Big Insurance and/or hurt the Democratic Party? Franken, I trust. Russ Feingold I trust implicitly (and I regret he didn't run for President).

But Holy Joe: if voting for cloture was the right thing to do, why'd he do it? Or conversely, he did it, so... it must not be the right thing?
posted by orthogonality at 5:48 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


This final version of the bill is both a massive disappointment compared to what it once was, and a massive accomplishment compared to any past health care legislation passed since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid.

It's unfortunate that people will only focus on the former. I'll admit it, I'm pissed off myself about the failure of the public option and the Medicare buy-in, and Joe Leiberman can go jump in a lake for that. However, this bill will do a lot of good, and at the end of the day it's hard to say no to an expansion of Medicaid and federal subsidies for medical insurance.

I don't think there's any question, though, that politically, the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot here. By passing a milestone health insurance reform bill, they have guaranteed a backlash from conservative voters, but by watering down the bill to ensure passage, they have turned off many liberals. If the job situation doesn't markedly improve by November 2010, and I don't think it will, the mid-term elections are going to be a bloodbath.
posted by thewittyname at 5:49 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't vote against democrats in the general election, vote against democrats in the fucking primaries. Jesus - if you want to get your skirt in a twist, you need to be involved enough in the political process to realize that that is the direction you need to push for change.
posted by TypographicalError at 5:52 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I'm voting Green because it sends a message to those in power!" -- Florida voter, Nov. 1999.

"Message received, dork." -- The entire country, Feb. 2000.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:53 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is there something in the bill preventing states from doing better? Could mass or cali go single payer or create the state-level public option?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:55 AM on December 21, 2009


A third-party candidate is not going to be elected.

The Democrats are not going to move left unless they need to court those votes. So please explain how being able to take left votes for granted and moving farther and farther right to get a majority gets us out from under the insurance industry.

Note that I didn't say it is the lack of a public option that will keep from voting Democrat, although I'd be pretty angry about that. It's the lack of a public option plus the inclusion of a mandate. That's just plain evil, there's no two ways about it.
posted by DU at 5:56 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the deal with these penalties? I think that's a terrible idea, and sounds an awful lot like a love letter to the insurance companies.
posted by Mister_A at 5:58 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


From Bernie Sanders' wikipedia page:
Increasingly popular because of his successful revitalization of Burlington's downtown area, Sanders won three more terms, defeating both Democratic and Republican candidates. In his last run for mayor, in 1987, he defeated a candidate endorsed by both major parties.
And that should tell you everything about the oligarchy that is this "two-party" system.
posted by vivelame at 5:59 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Greenwald also explained how Obama and Rahm Emanuel explicitly prevented a public option from passing-- which means that I'll be voting for the Green Party in 2012 as well.
posted by shii at 8:36 AM on December 21


The President isn't an idiot. The reason he isn't supporting a public option is because the government can't possibly afford it and he isn't going to bankrupt the country further. And before you argue that point, remember that the Chinese are even now only grudgingly buying the bonds we issue just to keep the lights on in government offices.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:00 AM on December 21, 2009


The first paragraph of your first link makes clear that this was a cloture vote ...

There are several more votes to go before it's passed ...


For those not familiar with the process:
"The Senate will take two more cloture votes this week, spaced thirty hours apart (that's the period of time designated under Senate rules for 'post-cloture' debate on the underlying question for which cloture was achieved.) So, we'll see another vote for the substitute amendment on Tuesday morning at around 7:00 a.m., then one on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 1:00 P.M. for the final bill. Both of those will need 60 votes. That will clear the way for final passage, which only needs 51 votes, should take place on Christmas Eve at around 7:00 PM."
posted by ericb at 6:02 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a shame there isn't some vast waste of taxpayer funds that could be drastically reduced to pay for healthcare, transit, and government-funded basic science research. Something that eats up like a third of the budget...
posted by Mister_A at 6:05 AM on December 21, 2009


shii: "Glenn Greenwald just pointed out on Democracy Now that without a public option, this bill is actually worse than nothing, because it requires people to buy in to private insurance which increases their monopoly power. It penalizes anyone who doesn't buy for-profit insurance, as well as giving the industry billions in handouts for their trouble. Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

Mischaracterization. First, not all of these plans are for-profit. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is a nonprofit outfit, as are many other companies. Second, everyone has to buy in because if they don't, then there's no pooling of risk, which is the reason that insurance works. Third, it's not a monopoly if you're adding patients to the entire insurance sector. Fourth, Greenwald needs to get his priorities straight: provision of health insurance to 23 million otherwise-uninsured is much more important than checking the growth of the insurance industry. Babies, people. Bathwater.
posted by The White Hat at 6:06 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote for Democrats because I want *policies that help people*. If Democrats don't give me those, why should I vote for them?

This isn't 1964. When in your voting lifetime have Democrats done shit to help people? Voting in a two party system run by Mammon is for idiots and assholes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:07 AM on December 21, 2009


because it requires people to buy in to private insurance which increases their monopoly power.

Just like those car insurance companies and their damn monopoly over car insurance. WHEN WILL INDUSTRIES STOP MONOPOLIZING THEIR OWN MARKETS.

Anyway let's forget that the new bill will eliminate preexisting conditions exclusions, will save us a ton of money, and make a ceiling of 8% of income vs 17%.

It could be better, but it's the best we can get. Progressives need to fund primary challengers wherever they can, because that's the best way to make a difference.

I don't like Lieberman at all, but I understand the logic of getting his vote.

Besides strengthening health care programs after their initial passage seems to be the norm.

Then again IF I CANT HAVE EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW IM GOING TO BE VERY ANGRY.
posted by Allan Gordon at 6:08 AM on December 21, 2009


Heh. From the comments of that Franken diary on DKos:

Now that we've identified Franken and Sanders and Vicki Kennedy on the other side, all we have to do is to organize the people who are to the left of them and we'll take over the government with that vast majority. I tell you, this works every time!
posted by EarBucket at 6:10 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


" the Chinese are even now only grudgingly buying the bonds we issue just to keep the lights on in government offices."

Well, maybe we can get healthcare insurers to buy them, because we as a country just decided to make them filthy stinking rich beyond their wildest dreams, with guaranteed profits forever.
posted by majick at 6:15 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know I really understand the desire you express DU, but in a real sense you have thrown a bit of a derail in the thread by jumping in so early with it. No chance for anything but "Dems suck/no they don't" for awhile here. oh well.

The Democrats are not like the Republicans, the Ds are a coalition of individuals spread over a wide range of political beliefs which in-general are more liberal than the Rs counterparts, but you can't point to any given issue and expect purity, which is frustrating on a real level, but in actuality is how things should work in a two-political party system. The Republicans right now have great party unity, but are a mono-culture, this whole automatic filibuster is new and a fucking travesty of a political process, there is no room for any R to express thoughts outside the accepted party line... they are the politburo of old.

And yet.. and yet people are saying the current problem is the fault of the Democrats, and I know plenty of progressives who are quietly envious of how uniform the Rs are. They want purity as well.

The problem is not the Democrats, it is how we think of them, because frankly I'd wager right now we'd have 50 Ds who'd vote for a PO, and near that for a Universal Health care but the game is now 60 and that is a lot harder. Yet, we want leadership that forces all Ds to vote the same... we want in essence progressive monoculture party.

Health care reform is damned important and we are not going to get exactly what we want, but we will get something and given how hard it is to even get that it IS a win of sorts. I am not a big Democratic Party fan, but lets be clear by and large the problem is not the D party here, it is the R party (oh and Joe Lieberman, I think Joe actually hates our current president for a number of reasons and will do anything to fuck him over that he can get away with).
posted by edgeways at 6:17 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


All you have to know about who won here is look at the stock prices of the insurance companies.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:21 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


For god's sake, don't vote 3rd party in 2012. Do you people not remember 2000? If you don't like the Dem candidate, support a more-liberal primary challenger. But voting 3rd party = voting republican. Plain and simple.

The argument that voting 3rd party shows the Dems in power how many people want them to be more liberal works just as well with funding and supporting liberal primary challengers.
posted by jckll at 6:22 AM on December 21, 2009


Don't vote against democrats in the general election, vote against democrats in the fucking primaries. Jesus - if you want to get your skirt in a twist, you need to be involved enough in the political process to realize that that is the direction you need to push for change.

You do realize that in the primaries, Democrats are running against other Democrats? Actually, it seems that you don't.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:23 AM on December 21, 2009


Only 94% of Democrats support the public option I wanted! I'm not voting for them again!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:25 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree Joe Beese.

Too bad those insurance companies aren't going bankrupt, that'll count as a win for progressive values. Then we could go even further in debt creating a purely government run health care system.

Or we can do a few things at a time creating a better system. But I guess you still miss the days where the government went all in with no back up plans.
posted by Allan Gordon at 6:25 AM on December 21, 2009


Allan Gordon, nice false dichotomy you got there. There is a lot of room between bankruptcy and "market valuation going through the roof".
posted by vivelame at 6:28 AM on December 21, 2009


Can anyone understand that illegal methods were used in passing this first hurdle? The replacement Senator has not been elected from Mass, only appointed after the fact Ted Kennedy passed away after changing the rules in which party holds office. Hopefully it stalls until the voters have spoken in the election after this term ends.
posted by brent at 6:32 AM on December 21, 2009


OK, I'll call it what it is: voting Republican. In 2000 I made the mistake of thinking there was no difference between the two parties, and it's not a mistake I will make again.

Ah, the abusive family of American Politics:

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the new language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, “Why did they beat me?”

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you, every single day.
posted by symbollocks at 6:34 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm voting Green because it sends a message to those in power!" -- Florida voter, Nov. 1999.

"Message received, dork." -- The entire country, Feb. 2000.


I'm amazed the entire country knew the result of the disputed November 2000 election nine months before it happened.
posted by aswego at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2009


Allan Gordon: "Or we can do a few things at a time creating a better system."

If you believe that forcing people to give a government-designated percentage of their income directly to antitrust-exempt corporations under penalty of a law written directly by those corporations is a "better system"...

The remainder of the problem is left as an exercise for the student.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:38 AM on December 21, 2009


For god's sake, don't vote 3rd party in 2012. Do you people not remember 2000?

i think i should point out that a substantial proportion of 2012's electorate weren't adults in 2000, so the answer for some is, no they don't - and if they do, they're also likely to think that the court gave bush the election - and whether they do or don't remember, they're almost certain to think people ought to be over it by now

political loyalty must be EARNED with RESULTS, it is not an entitlement
posted by pyramid termite at 6:38 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


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