Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Over 70 killed in Nigeria bus station terror attack

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornagraphy without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

ENCORE!

“Booty Looting” memory and mediums

Read more

WEB NEWS

Another Google Glass wearer attacked in San Francisco

Read more

LIFESTYLES

Sustainable cuisine

Read more

DEBATE

Eastern Ukraine: the escalation (part 2)

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way after ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Putin warns Ukraine "on brink of war" as Kiev continues "anti terror" operation

    Read more

  • Syria “torture” photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • Deadly fire rips through Chile’s Valparaiso for third day running

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' to redeploy for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

    Read more

  • French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

    Read more

  • Americas to see 'Blood Moon' total lunar eclipse

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    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

Comments

COMMENT(S)