Senate Vote on Health Care Bill

November 20, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The Senate health care bill is currently under scrutiny requiring 60 procedural votes to qualify for the Senate voting process. At present, the democrats have 58 votes in favor with two independents unclear and the remaining Republican votes unanimously opposed to the bill. I’ve confidence in the (I) U.S. Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders with his support to alleviate the suffering of millions in Vermont and across the nation.

While the Democrats laying out the facts and figures, the Republican lawmakers are meticulously scanning for flaws in their defense to block the anxiously awaited health care legislation.

Senate version of the health care bill proposes $848 billion allowing coverage for 31 million uninsured Americans with a CBO (Congressional Budget Office) assessment confirming an impressive $130 billion cost savings otherwise a massive federal deficit reduction over a decade.

In terms of public benefits, the contentious ‘public option’ substantially compromised with a state opt out plan to appease the opponents against the American interest. Women’s right related to the yet another controversial health topic viz. abortion devised differently from the House Bill. Again, a strategy adopted to lure the conservative vote within the majority.

The tax increases predominantly aimed at expensive health care policies titled as the ‘Cadillac Insurance Plan,’ with a tax imposition on minimal policies increasing the threshold to $8,500 for individuals and $23,000for family coverage. Likewise, $60 billion tax revenue generated mostly from a marginal hike in Medicare payroll tax by 0.50 percent on individual income exceeding $200,000 and $250,000 on combined household earnings respectively.

Although, there are reasons for grievances among different groups in the society, Senator Harry Reid’s challenge is understandable given the preparation in the battleground ahead of the voting session. Seeking perfection in the long anticipated health care reform would prolong the matter providing ammunition for the special interests and their paid representatives to terminate the desperately needed national health care.

I sincerely hope along with the millions of victims from the status quo that the legislators on both sides would rise to the occasion in the tough economic times by honoring the constitutional oath to protect, serve and prioritize the citizens’ plight over other demands. The only way to demonstrate that would be to cast their vote for the health care bill overwhelmingly accepted as the gateway to economic recovery.

Not only the nation’s eyes are set on the Senate’s important event but also the entire world will be watching the elected officials’ true commitment or the lack thereof to the electorate granting them power in a democracy.

I remain optimistic on the outcome and convey my best wishes to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and other Senators for their valuable contribution towards the historic legislation.

Good Luck! to the members of the United States Senate in the health care bill approval.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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