Reid announces upcoming health care vote

By Chris Rizo | Oct 9, 2009

Harry Reid (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)- The U.S. Senate Finance Committee will vote next week on legislation that would overhaul the nation's health care system without addressing what doctors have said is much-needed legal reform.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made the announcement Thursday, a day after the Congressional Budget Office said the committee's $829 billion bill would provide coverage to 29 million uninsured Americans.

The CBO also said the Democrat-backed proposal would reduce future federal deficits by slowing the growth of health care spending. The bill would reduce deficits by a total of $81 billion over the next decade, starting next year.

"Since Harry Truman was president, Democrats have fought to make it more affordable to live a healthy life in America," Reid said. "Every day, we come closer to achieving that goal."

The Finance Committee plan is one of five plans before Congress to reform the way health insurance companies do business.

Republicans are widely opposed to the plan, which lacks lawsuit liability caps. Physicians groups have said doctors have been driven out of practice because of the threats of exorbitant medical malpractice awards in some parts of the nation.

To pass, 12 votes from the 23-member Finance Committee are needed.

The bill would require people to have health insurance. The proposal does not include a government-sponsored insurance plan, an idea sought by some Democrats, especially in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that she would send three different versions health care bills to the CBO for its analysis.

"I think it's very clear from our conversations with the members that the votes are there for a public option," Pelosi said.

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