October 2nd, 2009
07:47 AM ET
12 years ago

Senate committee completes health-care debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/30/public.option/art.jpg caption="Max Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Finance Committee completed debate on proposed health- care legislation early Friday.

The Finance Committee was the last congressional panel to consider a health-care reform bill. It finished its work at 2:18 a.m. ET and plans to vote next week, after the bill's final language has been made public and the Congressional Budget Office has provided final cost figures.

Unlike several health-care reform proposals championed by House Democrats, the version that emerged from the Senate Finance Committee does not contain the public option - it would not create a government program to provide health insurance to all Americans.

President Barack Obama hailed the committee's work as "the culmination of tireless efforts" by it and four other committees and members of Congress on health care reform.

"As a result of this work, we are now closer than ever before to finally passing reform that will offer security to those who have coverage and affordable insurance to those who don't," he said in a White House statement.

Although the health-care debate has often been contentious, the committee's work ended with more of a whimper than a bang.

"For the most part this was conducted in a very gentlemanly and ladylike way and I want to thank you for that," Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said to committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.

Baucus praised the Finance Committee proposal as one "that will improve the lives of every American ... in a fiscally-responsible way." He said it would significantly expand health coverage while reducing the federal deficit, protecting Medicare benefits for seniors and lowering taxes for "more than 42 million Americans."

"We are offering a fiscally responsible bill that takes good ideas from both sides of the aisle," he said in a statement. "Together, we will deliver a bill that can pass the Senate."

Grassley, however, has said he fears the legislation will eventually lead to the government taking over the health-care system.

"We have a long way to go," Obama said in the statement, "but I am confident that as we move forward, we will continue to engage with each other as productively as the members of the Finance Committee, and will get reform passed this year."

- CNN's Charles Riley contributed to this report.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. dale

    Make strong people weak to make weak people people stronger. God I cannot wait until 2010. These tax crazed idiots have got to go.
    Mark my words... This will raise taxes and this will hurt the economy. Cap and trade will start a 20 year recession.
    That's exactly what the dem's want because it paves the path to socialism.

    October 2, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Dan, TX

    1) No pre-existing condition exclusions.
    2) No dropping insured for expensive medical needs.
    3) No yearly or lifetime coverage limits.
    4)Some kind of exchange of private and public options that everyone can choose from. (public option should make a big enough profit – should charge a high enough premium – to pay for the entire program and that will keep its cost high and let private insurance compete).
    5) Limit medical malpractice for good faith medical errors (doctors who operate while drunk or on drugs and kill people should still be liable for a lot of money).


    October 2, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Marie Dixon

    Hopefully, the new republican congress supported by the 2010 elections, will kill all this craziness. Take it to the Supreme Court as it is most probably illegal and not within the authority of the federal government.

    October 2, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Just get it done... If there is no public option, then there will be a problem down the line. I would hope that at the very least that there be a trigger to a public option. I don't think that real reform can be done without that. I just hope that the Republicans are willing to do something.

    October 2, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. America Shrugged

    Baucas's plan is a boon for insurance companies. As long as healthcare is a commodity to be traded on wall street, we will have no reform. Any regulation can be deregulated. Just think about the finanicial industry.

    October 2, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    At least the Public Option is scrapped. Now lets see if Congress really represents the people and votes only for reform that makes fiscal sense.

    October 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Zac, ATL

    I don't understand why Republicans aren't all over the Baucus bill. It's everything they want with only a few compromises to them, and the big one (no public option) to the Dems.

    If I were a strategist, I'd tell my Rep colleagues to take it lest they have the public option shoved down their throats.

    October 2, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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