Abortion Compromise Reached; Nelson To Issue Statement Shortly

December 19, 2009 3:41 a.m.

On the Senate floor right now, the clerk is reading the “Manager’s amendment” out loud. It clocks in at nearly 400 pages, and will likely take several hours to get through.

Contained within it is new abortion language, intended to win the support of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) told reporters this morning that he received the amendment this morning and his staff is still poring over it.

You can read a brief description of it below the fold, from a senior Democratic aide.

It suggests that the bill continues to decrease the deficit in both the near and long term–however it does not include a new price tag. We should have that information for you soon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will call a special caucus meeting at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the details with Democrats.

Looks like the snow storm didn’t derail things after all!

The manager’s amendment builds upon the strong bill we already have.

Protects our good coverage, cost, and affordability numbers

· Reduces Deficits – estimated to save over $130 billion first ten and roughly $650 billion second ten

· Expands Coverage – over 94 percent of Americans under 65 years of age, including over 31 million uninsured

· Reduces Costs – most Americans will see their health care costs reduced relative to projected levels

Makes health care more affordable for Americans by expanding small business tax credits

· $12 billion increase

· Begins in 2010

· Expands wage thresholds for tax credits

Demands greater accountability from insurance companies/ creates more choice and competition

· Medical Loss Ratio 85/80 percent – Insurance companies will be forced to spend more money on care and less money padding their bottom line.

· Starting immediately children cannot be denied health coverage due to pre-existing conditions

· Insurance companies who jack up their rates will be barred from competing in the exchange.

· Give patients the right to appeal to an independent board if an insurance company denies a coverage claim

· Health insurers will offer national plans to Americans under the supervision of the Office of Personnel Management, the same entity that oversees health plans for Members of Congress.

· Provides significant resources for Community Health Centers

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