Ben Nelson caves in, Nelson backs Senate health care bill, Harry Reid, December 19, 2009, Last minute compromise
From Fox news, December 19, 2009.
“Reid Unveils Health Compromise, Wins Nelson’s Support”
“With a self-imposed Christmas deadline at stake, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid engineered a last-minute compromise that has won the support of the lone Democratic holdout and clinched the required 60 votes to pass a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health care system.
Democratic leaders offered Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska a deal similar to the $300 million in Medicaid aid Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana got for her support, numerous sources told Fox News.
When asked about this, Sen. Kent Conrad, a key Democratic leader involved in the negotiations with Nelson, said, “Oh, it’ll be much more.”
The conservative Nebraska Democrat announced his support in a news conference Saturday, adding that he reserves the right to vote against the final bill if substantial changes are made by House and Senate negotiators.
Marathon negotiations with the White House and Senate Democratic leaders produced fresh concessions that will mean additional abortion restrictions in the legislation.
The compromise package Reid released Saturday also puts new limits on insurance company profits.The measure would require insurers in the individual market to spend 80 percent of premiums on medical care. The requirement for group policies would be 85 percent.
That would limit overhead and profits. Children could not be denied coverage for health problems.
On abortion, the measure would let states disallow coverage in new insurance exchanges.”
“With Nelson’s vote, Obama’s Senate allies would have the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster by Republicans.
That gave Nelson enormous leverage as he pressed for concessions that included stronger restrictions on abortions to be covered by insurance policies offered in a newly overhauled health care system. Officials said he was also seeking to ease the impact of a proposed insurance industry tax on nonprofit companies, as well as win more federal funds to cover Nebraska’s cost of treating patients in Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor. These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the administration and Democratic leaders had offered concessions on those points.
The Nebraska Democrat has already rejected one proposed offer on abortions as insufficient, and the presence in the talks of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., indicated additional changes were on the table.”
“Gone is a government insurance plan modeled on Medicare. So is the fallback, the option of allowing aging baby boomers to buy into Medicare. The major benefits of the bill won’t start for three or four years, and then they’ll be delivered through private insurance companies.”
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