Health Care Bill Approved by Senate Finance Committee

Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee endorsed its version of health care reform by a 14-9 vote. This clears the way for it to be merged with another committee’s bill for a vote by the full Senate.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was the only Republican to vote for the legislation. She did so with reservations, however, and said Democrats shouldn’t count on her vote if the bill is changed significantly before it comes to the floor.

"My vote today is my vote today," Snowe said. "It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow," reports.

In the meantime, insurance companies, unions, medical device makers and others in the health care industry are furiously lobbying lawmakers to shift burdens onto someone else — anyone else — before they find themselves saddled with billions of dollars in taxes under new health care legislation.

Their gain would be another industry's loss, of course, unless the entire overhaul effort collapses and Congress fails to agree on how to pay to provide health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

But new barriers lie ahead. About 30 unions joined in full-page newspaper ads Wednesday opposing the measure's plan to tax generous employer-provided health plans. On Sunday, the insurance industry released a report saying the bill would raise insurance costs for people who already have policies. And the industry this week began a TV ad campaign in six states accusing Democrats of seeking to cut $100 billion from subsidies for Medicare Advantage, under which private insurance companies provide Medicare benefits, The Associated Press reports.

It was also reported, it may be that the healthcare debate is less about the plan itself than about how people in our communities feel about Obama or the general state of the nation.

The community types that voted for Obama last November and how they say they stand on healthcare. Many of the other types tend to lean Republican and voted against Obama, Christian Science Monitor reports.

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