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Thursday, April 15, 2021

House health care celebration may be short-lived

After a landmark win in the House of Representatives, President Barack Obama’s push for healthcare reform faces a difficult path in the Senate amid divisions in his own Democratic Party on how to proceed.

On a 220-215 vote, including the support of one Republican and opposition from 39 Democrats, the House backed a bill late on Saturday that would expand coverage to nearly all Americans and bar insurance practices such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The battle now shifts to the Senate, where work on Obama’s top domestic priority has been stalled for weeks as Democratic leader Harry Reid searches for an approach that can win the 60 votes he needs to overcome Republican procedural hurdles.

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House health care plan ain’t selling in Senate

Don’t look for the Senate to quickly follow the House on health care overhaul.

A government health insurance plan included in the House bill is unacceptable to a few Democratic moderates who hold the balance of power in the Senate. They’re locked in a battle with liberals, with the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature issue at stake.

If a government plan is part of the deal, “as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent whose vote Democrats need to overcome GOP filibusters.

“The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.

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