Senator Murray says Health Care Bill an Important Step Forward

November 23, 2009


The health care debate

has taken another halting but key step forward. Senate democrats narrowly won a vote Saturday night to open debate

on their version of the sweeping reform bill.

       Now Senate Democrats have the difficult task of hammering out

their differences and trying to pass their final version of the bill. KOHO’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner spoke

Friday with Washington Senator Patty Murray about the 2,074 page health care bill:

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style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">       Senator Murray

joined us by phone Friday morning from Washington DC.

Now the real debate on the senate health care proposal begins. The

amendments are expected to take weeks and deliberations aren’t slated to begin until after Thanksgiving.

       If the Senate does manage to pass a bill, it would then need to be merged

with the House proposal into a consensus vesion, which requires approval from both chambers before heading to

President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

The current forms of both the Senate and House health care bills require

uninsured individuals to buy health insurance, with penalties for non-compliance. Unlike the House version, the

Senate bill does not mandate that all employers offer health care.

The two bills are virtually identical on many changes,

including creating health insurance exchanges, increasing Medicaid, subsidizing insurance for low- and some

middle-income families, capping out-of-pocket medical expenses, and preventing insurance companies from denying

coverage for pre-existing conditions.




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