Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gaza: online reactions

Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

  • Kristoff wins Tour’s flat Stage 15

    Read more

Americas

Obama makes final push before climactic vote on healthcare reform

Video by Oliver FARRY

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-21

US President Barack Obama paid a visit to Capitol Hill Saturday to rally support on healthcare as Democrats in the House of Representatives tried to nail down the last votes to pass his sweeping overhaul. The climactic vote is scheduled for Sunday.

REUTERS - President Barack Obama paid a vist to Capitol Hill on Saturday to rally support on healthcare as Democrats in the House of Representatives tried to nail down the last votes to pass his sweeping overhaul.

House Democratic leaders, closing in on the 216 votes they need for final approval, decided to take a separate vote on the Senate-passed overhaul, dropping a much-criticized strategy that would have permitted them to “deem” the bill passed without a separate vote.

The decision came as a House panel met to decide the rules and process used in Sunday’s vote on the biggest changes in the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system in the last four decades, with a vote scheduled for sometime on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re moving closer,” Representative Xavier Becerra said as Democratic vote-counters met to compare notes on about two dozen undecided lawmakers who could determine the bill’s fate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also appeared to rule out a separate vote on adding more strict anti-abortion language to appease a handful of Democratic holdouts who are abortion rights opponents, another sign Democrats were growing confident.

“We have an agreement with the Senate—this is what we are passing in both houses,” Pelosi said of the healthcare package.

Democrats picked up seven new converts in recent days who said they would switch their November votes from “no” to “yes.” The House passed its version of the overhaul in November with three votes to spare.

House Republican leader John Boehner, an ardent foe of the legislation, appeared to acknowledge the looming defeat in the weekly Republican radio address.

Highlights of Democrats’ new healthcare reform

 - Insurers cannot deny patients coverage for pre-existing conditions or charge higher premiums due to gender or medical history.

- Insurance exchanges to be created to help small businesses and the unemployed buy less expensive coverage.

- Individuals without coverage would face a fine, with the exception of poorer Americans.

- Subsidies for families earning less than $88,000 annually.

- Surtax on people earning more than $200,000 annually.

- States could choose whether to ban abortion coverage in plans offered in insurance exchanges.

- No public option.

‘Can't beat this bill’

“Republicans can’t beat this bill, but the American people can,” Boehner said. “It’s not too late to make your voice heard.”

The political battle over healthcare reform has consumed Congress for more than nine months, putting a dent in Obama’s approval ratings and worrying Democratic lawmakers who face re-election in November.
 
The overhaul, Obama’s top domestic priority, would expand coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans and ban insurance practices like refusing coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions.

It would require all Americans to have health insurance, but give subsidies to help lower-income workers pay for it and set up exchanges where individuals and groups could shop and compare insurance plans.

The House Rules Committee met on Saturday to set the debate rules and the process for passing the legislation on Sunday. It is expected that if the Senate’s version of the bill is approved by the House on Sunday, it would become law once signed by Obama.

A package of revisions designed to win over wavering House Democrats would move in a separate bill the Senate would take up next week.

"We are on the verge of taking a decisive step on behalf of all Americans to provide affordable, quality healthcare," Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the rules panel.

The House will take three votes on Sunday, Democratic aides said—on the rule setting the process, the revisions to the Senate bill sought by House Democrats and on the Senate bill itself.

"We are about to unleash a cultural war in this country," Representative Joe Barton told the Rules Committee.

Democratic leaders had worked for days to heal a rift with a small group of abortion rights opponents led by Democratic Representative Bart Stupak. They threatened to oppose the healthcare bill unless the ban on using federal funds for abortion was strengthened.

A larger group of abortion rights supporters had fought back, and talks with Stupak appeared dead on Saturday.

"The leader has said she is not going to give separate votes on any of the issues, including that one," Representative Dianna DeGette, a leader of the abortion rights supporters, told reporters.

She said it would not prevent Democrats from hitting 216 on healthcare reform.

"I believe we will have the votes. I think we are very, very close," she said.

Date created : 2010-03-20

  • USA

    Democrats face final stretch in lengthy healthcare battle

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama hails 'historic' healthcare vote this weekend

    Read more

  • USA

    Democrats optimistic ahead of key vote on Obama healthcare reform

    Read more

COMMENT(S)