November 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Senate opens debate on health care bill

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Senate opened debate Monday on a sweeping bill to overhaul the nation's health care system.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid launched what is expected to be a lengthy and rancorous legislative battle by hailing the debate as one of the most important in U.S. history.

However, the process quickly bogged down in Republican procedural objections, causing Reid to lament: "This is not a good way to start this debate."

Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming challenged a proposal by Reid that he said would unfairly cut off the proposal of amendments, including a planned Republican amendment that would prevent any cuts to the government-run Medicare
health program for senior citizens.

Democrats contend the bill will ensure Medicare's future financial stability by eliminating waste and reducing costs. Reid said the bill "saves money, saves lives and saves Medicare."

Republicans contend that proposed Medicare cuts would harm senior citizens, with Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona saying the bill "can't be fixed" if the Medicare provisions it contains remain intact.

The House has passed its version of a health care bill, and if the Senate eventually passes its bill, the two measures would be merged by a congressional conference committee. Both chambers then would have to approve the revised bill before it could go to President Barack Obama's desk.


Filed under: Senate
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Jim

    typical republican obstruction of progress.

    they can't even try to DEBATE it.

    when will the republicans stop being part of the problem?

    November 30, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Listening to Sen. McConnell's opening remarks, I realize just how out of touch republicans are with this. I find it shocking that while republicans were in power for the last 8 years, besides for passing that farce of a prescription drug bill, what did they do to really overhaul the system and enact reform??? If they're all about TORT reform, why didn't they do it in the last 8 years? If they're all about bying insurance across state lines, why didn't they do it in the last 8 years? Stop, look and listen people. They could've gotten all of that accomplished in the last 8 years, but did they????

    November 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Randy

    How do I as a single person in the US challenge the constitutionality of any law passed by the fed. Does the supreme court even exist, do they look at what congress and the president want to pass? Once this is in place it will never be removed. It's time to clean house and bring the constituion back to the front where it belongs.

    November 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Ted from Calif.

    The Refuseniks do not want any healthcare proposal to pass. They are focused on bringing Obama down and could care less about the welfare of the American people.

    November 30, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. yuri

    We have not heard any GOP gang member becoming a kind-hearted individual, ever, towards the un-and under-insureds. Dickhead Dick Armey, form TX, does chide, and deal diatribes on, the destitutes who have no insurance, by saying they eat like pigs and do not care about their healths. He oughta remember that he himself looks like a wild boar in his appearance.

    November 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. AlanMaui

    We have seen so much in the debate on health care about the cost of health care and the need to reduce that cost. We have heard nothing about the fact that over 60 percent of Americans are over weight and over half of those are obese. The over weight and obese population consumes a hugely disproportionate amount of the health care dollar. There is a tremendous opportunity to save money on health care by addressing the causes of obesity. In the recent past we have seen class action law suites brought by state attorney generals to recover health care costs from tobacco companies because their products are so damaging to a person’s health, why do we not see the same type of class action law suites to recover some of the health care costs that are caused by the products made and sold by McDonalds, Bugger King, Jack-In-The-Box, etc? A large tax on Junk Food, Fast Food, Sugar Drinks, etc. would force people to make wiser decisions about their nutrition which would actually make them healthier and they would feel better, and at the same time reduce the national cost of health care. Nutritional education at a very early age could save a tremendous amount of health care costs.

    November 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. SocialismBad

    Let the battle begin! Kill this Obamination of a healthcare disaster before it bankrupts the country. Haven't the Democrats spent enough in the last 10 months for a lifetime?! Hopefully this bill gets defeated along with Harry Reid in the next election.

    Democrats, support this healthcare train wreck at your own electoral peril!

    November 30, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. S M R

    Obstruct, Obstruct, Obstruct. What's new.

    November 30, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    this is a waste.....Repubs are against it.....a lot of the Dems don't like it.....it is going no-where

    November 30, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. mjm

    So Reid doesn't want anyone to amend the bill? So much for discussion.

    Democrats want us to take it or leave it....I say leave it.

    If States want a public option they can create on themselves. We don't need the federal government forcing this on everyone.

    November 30, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. ACCOUNTANT

    Just say NO to Obamacare disaster.

    November 30, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. RGB in MN

    This is a seriously flawed bill, starting with the $3 million pay-off to the La. Democratic Senator, and ending with higher taxes, no enactment for 3 years, no guarantees of total costs (or even estimates past 10 years).
    It will fail, and needs to.
    Re-focus on jobs, and NOT government jobs.

    November 30, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. southerncousin

    The unwilling, led by the incompetent to do the unnecessary. Welcome to Obamaland.

    November 30, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. independent

    Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate. Don't let this drag on. Some medicine is best taken in a gulp. Go at it and get it done.

    November 30, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. GOP hypocrisy

    Get it out fast & take an up-or-down vote - we need health care, not bureaucratic obstructionism. Remember when GOPs used to whine about that? Hypocritical idiots.

    November 30, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. vwrtb

    Capitalism has failed because there is no competition... Only an anti trust monopoly with a handful of players... Baseball also enjoys this antitrust benefit... No wonder I can't afford to take my family to a game

    November 30, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Democrats contend the bill will ensure Medicare's future financial stability by eliminating waste and reducing costs."

    Yeah, right...

    When ever, in history has any government program been able to "eliminate waste" or "reduce costs?" It's never happened, it never will, and Reid knows it.

    As of today's Rasmussen Report, only 41% of voters support* what Reid is pushing while 53% are opposed–that Reid continues to try to impose this trillion-dollar waste of money on American citizens is an egregious violation of his obligation to represent the will of the people of this country.

    * Support for health care reform as a concept is not the same as support for the specific pieces legislation the House passed and the Senate is considering. A lot of people want some kind of reform, but the most emphatically do not want the trillion dollar entitlement idiocy Congressional Democrats are trying to impose on us.

    November 30, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Rick CT

    Apparently Reid wants to have a North Korean parliment style debate.

    November 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Democrats contend the bill will ensure Medicare's future financial stability by eliminating waste and reducing costs."

    Yeah, right...

    When, ever, in history has any government program been able to "eliminate waste" or "reduce costs?" It's never happened, it never will, and Reid knows it.

    As of today's Rasmussen Report, only 41% of voters support* what Reid is pushing while 53% are opposed–that Reid continues to try to impose this trillion-dollar waste of money on American citizens is an egregious violation of his obligation to represent the will of the people of this country.

    * Support for health care reform as a concept is not the same as support for the specific pieces legislation the House passed and the Senate is considering. A lot of people want some kind of reform, but the most emphatically do not want the trillion dollar entitlement idiocy Congressional Democrats are trying to impose on us.

    November 30, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Suddenly, The Party of No/The Republican't Party cares about Medicare?

    Puh-lease?!?!?

    What disingenuous pols!

    November 30, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Albo58

    A good way to start this debate is to start all over from scratch and permanently leave out things like: the public option (read: total government-run health care), government-paid abortions (read: abortion is a choice, not a medical emergency so pay for it yourself!), and medical coverage for illegal immigrants (read: illegal immigrants are law-breakers that should be deported because they have broke our laws!).

    November 30, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom

    45,000 Americans die every year because they do not have healthcare.

    IF 45,000 Americans were dying because of terrorist attacks, the GOPers would be rioting in the streets.

    However, 45,000 Americans die every year because they do not have healthcare and the so-called-pro-life Republicans do not care!

    November 30, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Justin M

    Leave it to the GOP to drag their feet. Bunch of cry babies.

    November 30, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Marc

    Is this news, the NO-NO-NO-AND-NO Party is in the room folks, get ready for endless (and boring) speeches about anything but the bill or an alternative for the bill or a discussion about the bill, get ready for scare & smear & fearmongering, get ready for the GOP!!!
    Meanwhile, health care is the nº 1 reason for personal bankrupticy in the US and 45000 dies every year because they can't afford it... but this is not an important issue for some people in that party...

    November 30, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. T. Pipe Owosso

    I read this bumper sticker today, I thought it might have some revelance.

    Think you can trust the government?????
    Ask a native American.

    November 30, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |