Fresh with backing from the American Medical Association (AMA) and the AARP, the House health care bill was set for a rare Saturday vote, but not without plenty of drama.
The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that “House Democrats acknowledged they don’t yet have the votes to pass a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, and signaled they may push back the vote until Sunday or early next week.”
Earlier in the week, the CEO of AARP, Barry Rand, made this statement: “We started this debate more than two years ago with the twin goals of making coverage affordable to our younger members and protecting Medicare for seniors. We can say with confidence that the House bill meets those goals with improved benefits for people in Medicare and needed health insurance market reforms to help ensure every American can purchase affordable health coverage.” You can view the AARP announcement HERE.
Dr. J. James Rohack, President of the AMA, is reported as saying, that the legislation is “not a perfect representation of our views,” but is close enough to warrant his group’s support and keep the reform process moving forward.
On Tuesday, the Tea Party protesters rallied on the hill, shouting, “Kill the bill!” and “Waterboard Congress!” and warning of a government takeover of the entire health care system. House Republican leader John Boehner called the bill “the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen.” Throughout this summer and fall, opponents have been comparing health care reform to Nazi Germany and Obama to Hitler. Now they’ve got the posters to prove it. In a stunning display of ignorance and insensitivity, protesters carried posters depicting the Dachau death camps, featuring piles of murdered and discarded human beings.
Here is Keith Olbermann’s take on this week’s events:
The Democratic House bill in question includes a public option and provisions to subsidize poor Americans, create health insurance exchanges, and cap out-of-pocket expenses. It also prevents insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. An increase in taxes would apply to families earning more than $1 million or individuals earning more than $500,000, and insurers would be stripped of their anti-trust exemption.
Still to be hammered out is the language on funding for abortion and illegals’ access to private insurance.
Republicans also came up with their own plan this week, one that is woefully inadequate and would leave tens of millions of Americans without health care coverage. It hasn’t got a chance.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid backs a public option, but would allow states to opt out.
President Obama plans to go to Capitol Hill on Saturday in an effort to make good on his plan to have a bill on his desk in 2009.
Healthy debate over policy is one thing. But comparing health care for Americans to Dachau?… The bar can hardly get lower.
And the drama continues.
Connect with Ann on Twitter: @AnnPietrangelo
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