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Today's Opt-Out Public Option Announcement

October 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] today announced that the health care bill he will present to the Senate will include a public option with a provision that allows individual states to opt out. It's generally being treated as a victory for progressives, but in a broader context, today's announcement is the culmination of months of a series of big conservative compromises.

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Reid's Presser

October 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] announcing a final Senate health care bill including a public option with an opt-out provision and a co-op plan: ...

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This Week in Congress - The Unveiling

October 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Reports are out everywhere today that Democrats in both chambers have just about finished putting together their final health care bills and are planning to make them public this week. These will be the versions that, after more than six months of committee work and negotiating, will come to the floors in the Senate and the House for votes.

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Unemployment Benefits Extension Vote Set for Tuesday

October 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Despite rising unemployment numbers, Senate Republicans have been blocking an extension of unemployment insurance benefits for three weeks. Democratic leaders are planning to force the bill past the Republican opposition on Tuesday by holding a cloture vote that will put every member of the Senate down on record on the issue.

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Public Option "Zone of Compromise"

October 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Via Nate Silver at 538, this graphic outlining the many variations of the public option and which ones could possibly pass the Senate is exceedingly clever and probably accurate: The y-axis shows the range of implementation options being tossed around for the public option and the x-axis shows the operation options. The yellow triangle contains what seems like the potential areas for a compromise. As Nate at 538 notes, it's not a perfect representation -- co-ops and public option plans can...

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The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to expand federal hate crimes laws to include crimes motivated by a person's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or physical disability. The vote ends a decade-long push for supporters of the measure in Congress and ensures that it will become law soon.

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Conference Reports Can Be Filibustered

October 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I just want to pass along this link to what David Waldman wrote today on this over at Congress Matters. I don't know why so many people seem to think conference reports can't be filibustered (David's guesses sound pretty right on), but the fact of the matter is that they can be filibustered and they are, in fact, filibustered routinely. This is one of the flaws with the argument that a public option can be added to the health care bill on the Senate floor once the motion to proceed has pa...

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Read the Finance Committee Health Care Bill

October 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

We now have the full text of the 1,502-page Senate Finance Committee health care bill posted for public review and comment. Dig in:

Text of S. 1697 - America's Healthy Future Act of 2009

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Sen. Landrieu Blasts Public Option

October 22, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

The Hill's Briefing Blog catches this NPR interview with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) where the senator blasts the public option:

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Health Care Antitrust Bill Advances

October 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to move forward with an idea that has just recently been added to the health care reform mix. The pane voted, 20-9, in favor of legislation to take away insurance companies' exemption from federal antitrust laws.

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Senate Rejects Medicare Pay Fix

October 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate today voted down a procedural motion to move forward with the Medicare Physicians Fairness Act of 2009. The bill would have undone a physician payment formula for Medicare that was created by Congress in 1997 and has recommended pay cuts for seven years in a row. In the past six years Congress has overridden the formula and blocked the cuts from taking effect. Since Congress hasn't been willing to let the cuts go through, the amount of the cuts recommended by the formula increase each ...

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A Handy Guide to Congress' Health Care Bills

October 20, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There are now five separate versions of health care reform legislation pending in Congress. Here's your guide to why there are so many different versions, where they came from and how they will be treated going forward as Congress tries to finalize a bill they can send to President Obama to be signed into law.

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Bloomberg reports that the health care bill reported out of the Senate Finance Committee (S. 1796) contains numerous provisions aimed at specific states. These enticements could be used to secure wavering Democrats or allow senators in tough 2010 election races to tout to constituents.

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Baucus Bill in Technicolor ...er, Legalese

October 19, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate Finance Committee has converted their easy-to-understand, plain English draft health care bill into a 1,502-page maze of legalese. It's also been given an official number -- S. 1796. Time to dig in and read the bill!

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Keeping Up Appearances

October 19, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The only reason Congress has been able to meet (or come anywhere close to) Obama's goal of budget neutrality for health care reform is that they are planning to shunt a big chunk of the actual costs into a separate bill. That bill, the Medicare Physicians Fairness Act of 2009, is scheduled for a vote in the Senate this week.

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