December 19th, 2009
10:09 AM ET
8 months ago

Sources: Dem leaders have eased senator's doubts on health bill

Democratic leaders have eased Sen. Nelson's doubts on the health bill.
Democratic leaders have eased Sen. Nelson's doubts on the health bill.

Washington (CNN) – U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, the lone Democratic holdout on the Senate health care reform bill, has reached an agreement with Democratic leaders, several Democratic senators said Saturday on Capitol Hill.

Nelson, a social conservative from Nebraska who opposes abortion, does not want taxpayer funds to pay for that medical procedure. His vote is crucial for Democrats, who want to avoid a GOP filibuster.

The senators were said to be caucusing on the terms of the agreement.

Asked whether he was on board with it, Ben Nelson replied, "Yeah."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, who was one of the key senators involved in the talks with Ben Nelson, confirmed that she's satisfied that the language of the agreement achieves its goal.

"My goal was to try to reach some compromise so we could move forward on health care, where the basic premise was we could separate federal funds from private funds. I think we achieved that."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, agreed, saying the deal follows the principles of the Hyde amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used for abortions.

"Anyone who is in the exchange who also gets a federal subsidy because they're poor, if they choose a private insurance policy and want any kind of abortion coverage, they have to write that part of the premium from their own personal funds," the Florida senator said.

The health bill proposes a health insurance exchange for those unable to afford health coverage or don't have coverage. No federal funds could be used to cover abortions for people participating in the exchange, the bill says.

In addition, under national plans that would be administered by the Office of Personnel Management, there has to be, if a state chooses those, at least one that does not offer abortion coverage.


Filed under: Barbara Boxer • Ben Nelson
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. MR RIGHT

    Here is the point, say and do anything to save face, pass anything that resembles a bill no matter how flawed and incomplete, do it quickly, not for any real reason other than Obama, Pelosi and Reid need to win and feed their ego's, even if it means losing the country to ineptitude,
    This bill has never seen the light of day, no one has read it, all the deals are behind closed doors and the transparency that was promised by this administration is a lie. This along with every other broken promise and bad decisions shows this president to be a total failue and it has only been a year, this is too sad.

    December 19, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The one thing that right wingnuts appear to have in common is that they must have been dropped on their heads when they were little. For a while, I thought it was due to bad drinking water in Arizona.

    December 19, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Dan in FL

    It's amazing how people can be so obsessed with the treatment of the unborn at the expense of the rest of the sentient population. Abortion is the biggest non-issue of our time, from a political perspective. Whereas I personally abhor its use as a procedure of convenience, it's hard to believe that a group of politicians in Washington can effectively regulate access to any kind of medical procedure. Come to think of it, isn't that a conservative talking point?

    December 19, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Bob of Lompoc

    Looks like the Dems have the 60 needed. Now we await the Republican dirty tricks. Or, if they can't come up with any, their eternal complaiong, whining and crying, the sure sign of a Party Of The Losers. BTW, take the Senator (D)Izzy of The State Of Israel and The State Of Hartford with you, and turn out the lights, wwen you leavbe and become the Third Party. Step up Ron Paul. Now is the time for you and the Libertarians. Do it!

    December 19, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Jim

    Every member of the Democratic party should be up for treason charges. Not only are they passing a bill the majority of Americans are against they are doing it with bribes right in front of the citizens of this country. The bill itself has been hiden behind closed doors. Congress and Marxist Obama are taking over this country. Things could get very real. Let's just hope someone with the money can sue these b-–ds and carry it right to the supreme court.

    December 19, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Willy Brown

    Democrats do you hear the faint sound of drums? That’s the sound of change coming in 2010. You ignored the legal tax payers long enough.

    December 19, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Concerned Democrat

    Shame on Senator Nelson.....he SOLD OUT and was PAID OUT by Harry Reid.

    This bill is not Health Care reform, it's a STIMULUS bill for the Insurance industry. They have now guaranteed them an extra 30 million customers. The losers are us the American public who will be FORCED to buy insurance and pay for this plan years before we reap the benefits....if there are any benefits.

    Additionally, I will never again believe President Obama or anyone else who claims transparency. This was a sham!!!! no CSPAN coverage like promised, no time for the American public to view the bill.....nothing just a sneaky, trade off and sell out.

    I

    December 19, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. frustrated, gainesville, florida

    A bill this important is released and will be passed without any review, comment, debate and amendments. They are acting like dictators, not representatives.

    December 19, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Bob of Lompoc

    Looks like the Dems have the 60 needed. Now we await the Republican dirty tricks. Or, if they can't come up with any, their eternal complaing, whining and crying, the sure sign of a Party Of The Losers. BTW, take the Senator (D)Izzy of The State Of Israel and The State Of Hartford with you, and turn out the lights, when you leave and become the Third Party. Step up Ron Paul. Now is the time for you and the Libertarians. Do it!

    December 19, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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