Health Care has 60

Health Care has 60

As we come up toward the Christmas break, the senate is butting up against the deadline that President Obama wants them to finish the bill by. We all know they need the 60 votes, and we all know that somebody is being a holdout. The most recent holdout has been Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska.

I was listening to Friday’s Morning Edition on NPR this morning, which threw the timing off a little for me as it’s Sunday morning, but on the program, Ben Nelson was saying that he didn’t think there was much of anything that anyone could say to change his mind and get him to sign on to the health care reform bill before the Christmas recess. He said that the language around abortion wasn’t strong enough, and that that was only the tip of the iceberg about his issues and reservations about the bill.

As of Saturday, he’s in. He got them to give Nebraska some more money and make even more sure that the bill doesn’t use federal funds for an abortion. There has got to be some lawyer somewhere who can figure out how to get around that- just to needle those guys about it.

It’s in, though. Which leaves me excited and sort of having to sit with the idea of it for a second and wonder about what’s in it. But first they actually have to get the thing through, which is scheduled to start on Monday in the afternoon and hopefully (fingers crossed) end with a vote on Christmas Eve, which is Thursday. The fact that that is a rush schedule and that it’s a hopeful thing gives me a good image of what it is actually like to try and get anything done in the senate. You want to talk about bureaucracy? I make a motion to make it a little bit easier, please.

But there will be not filibuster. There will be no procedural delaying by the Republicans. There will be only the quick work and lots of gavel pounding.  

So today I am thinking about what it will be like if the health care reform bill actually makes it through in some form and ends up on the President’s desk (It does still have to go through getting mashed up and together with the one that the House passed, and then make it out of Congress into President Obama’s hands).

So now I will have to start buying health insurance sometime soon, within the next few years anyway. It will also mean that even if I wait around and don’t have health insurance for years until I need it, I can still get it with my pre-existing condition- did you know that pre-existing conditions can be everything from depression to migraines to diabetes. Those may be the only two things that are certain in the health care bill. We’ll see how it ends up, but for now I raise my egg nog to the senators for making it happen.

Harry Reid (Senate majority leader) now has the 60 votes he needs to just pass the thing on through. Merry Christmas everybody. And a Healthy New Year.