Health care bill clears Senate

After months of debate, a major health care overhaul  passed the Senate on a 60-39 vote this morning. Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey says it’s “a historic step,” claiming the measure will expand coverage to 31 million more Americans, as well as lop 132 billion dollars off the federal deficit over the next decade.

Here’s more of Casey’s statement:

“This bill also makes improvements for children’s health care and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  I have been a strong advocate for protecting and improving CHIP in this bill.  We prevented the dismantling of the program and were able to secure a two-year funding extension in addition to other improvements such as strengthening enrollment and outreach mechanisms and immediately implementing provisions to prevent denial of care because of preexisting conditions.

“More power is given to consumers and we end many of the worst practices by insurance companies.  Discrimination because of pre-existing conditions would be prohibited.  Insurance companies wouldn’t be able to drop coverage if you become sick.  Arbitrary limits on coverage would be eliminated.”

PA Republicans disagree. State chairman Rob Gleason calls it “an awful piece of legislation that will raise taxes, kill jobs and drive a government-sized wedge between patients and their doctors.” He says it doesn’t address the country’s health care needs, and that the party looks forward to waiving the bill around during this year’s Senate campaign. “Pennsylvanians will not forget that Senator Specter gave the Democrats their 60th vote and assured the passage of this awful legislation.”

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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