President Obama's effort to reform the American health care system moved forward again today. AP reports the Senate Health Committee passed its version of overhaul legislation in a party-line of 13-10. Along with pushing for savings in the industry, the $600 billion bill would:
seek to expand coverage to many of the 46 million uninsured Americans, add a government-run health care program, require most Americans to obtain health insurance, and mandate most employers to provide it to their workers.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah told reporters a House Democratic plan for taxing the rich to help fund health care is a "dead issue" in the Senate. Hatch said he doubts a full bill will emerge in the next two weeks.
This one's shaping up to be quite the partisan battle. Drudge is going with the big red letters and "Rahm It Through: Nationalized Health Care in Weeks!" for his lead item (and his is in all caps, too). The link's to a Bloomberg story reporting that Obama is open to a partisan vote. It quotes White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel:
"At the end of the day, the test isn't whether they voted for it," he said, referring to Republicans. "The test is whether the final product represented some of their ideas. And I think it will."
President Obama issued a statement praising the Senate health committee, singling out Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. From the White House release:
Like the legislation produced by the House of Representatives, this proposal would offer Americans quality, affordable health care that is there when they need it. No longer will insurance companies be able to deny coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition. No longer will Americans have to worry about their health insurance if they lose their job, change their job, or open a new business.