Senate votes to take healthcare reform debate to the senate floor. - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Senate votes to take healthcare reform debate to the senate floor.

Sen. Mary Landrieu Sen. Mary Landrieu
Sen. Mitch McConnell Sen. Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Healthcare reform legislation is one step closer to being done after a crucial vote in the U.S. Senate today with protesters rallying across the country opposed to the changes.

Today's 60 to 39 vote wasn't on the actual bill itself, but on whether to go ahead and debate it on the senate floor.

In the end, not one republican voted for the procedure and it took all 58 democrats and two independents to make it happen.

"My vote today to move forward on this important debate should no way be construed by the supporters of this current framework as an indication of how I might vote," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana.

"Every senator who goes on record saying that we need to proceed to this monstrosity of a bill will in effect be voting for higher taxes," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky.

Here are some fast facts on the bill, the 2,074-page bill would expand health insurance coverage to 31 million Americans and the senate version costs an estimated 849 billion dollars over 10 years.

While the house bill that passed nearly two weeks ago would cost 1.2 trillion dollars over the same time period.

 


Senator Daniel K. Inouye issued the following statement following the senate vote to bring the health-care reform bill to the floor for debate.

 

 "I am a bit disappointed with the opposition demonstrated by some of my colleagues. The facts are clear that with every passing day more and more American men, women and children lose their health-care coverage because of the economic conditions plaguing our nation. It is no secret that present laws do not provide relief or help to millions of Americans in getting affordable health-care coverage. It appears that when premiums get bigger by some unacceptable coincidence the coverage declines. This is shameful. I think it is about time we do something about this. I have cast my vote in favor of bringing this bill to the floor and I will continue to support health-care reform," said Senator Inouye.

 


Senator Daniel K. Akaka  voted to support a procedural motion and released the following statement.

 

"I am committed to expanding access to quality, affordable health care, preserving existing coverage, and slowing the increasing costs of health care," Senator Akaka said. "Tonight's vote brings us closer to enactment of meaningful health reform. I am working with colleagues as we continue to develop this legislation."

 


This statement was given by Hawaii Democratic Party chair Brian Schatz

 

"The senate's vote tonight to move forward with health insurance reform legislation marks a critical step in the march to better, fairer and more reasonably priced health care for Americans. With this action, the senate is demonstrating that it has the sixty votes it needs to make reform happen.

The bill would expand health insurance coverage to 31 million Americans and reduce the deficit by $127 billion by 2019, and by $650 billion ten years after that. The bill would prohibit some of the insurance industry's worst practices and it includes a public health insurance option. We need this legislation to fix our broken healthcare system, and to get the deficit under control.

There are issues to iron out. This is essentially a motion to proceed, which enables full debate in the U.S. Senate. But make no mistake, we are moving forward and we are on track."

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