The election of Republican Scott Brown to the United States Senate in Massachusetts might not have doomed President Obama’s health care measure. Democrats in the US House are using a process called reconciliation to move the bill approved by the Senate prior to the election of Brown, an election that undercut the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority Democrats enjoyed. Reconciliation would allow passage on a simple majority vote. It could also avoid returning the bill to the Senate.
Senator McCaskill objects to charges that Democrats are changing the rules in the middle of the game. McCaskill blames Republican tactics for stalling work to overhaul the nation’s health care system. McCaskill notes that health care passed prior to Brown’s election and shouldn’t need to meet that 60-vote threshold a second time. She says she has received more communication questioning why everything can’t pass with a simple majority vote.
Health care legislation barely squeezed to passage in the US House.
West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton voted against it, one of 39 Democrats in the House to vote against the bill. He’s not happy with the procedural changes being made, stating that he believes both chambers should abide by the rules established at the beginning of the process.
Skelton worries the cuts to Medicare will undermine rural hospitals. McCaskill states that the $200 billion cut to Medicare will cut the profits of insurance companies that run the Medicare Advantage Program, but will not cut the Medicare program.
Skelton also objects to language that would permit federal money to be used for abortions. He says his objection stands, unless something changes. Skelton says the Senate bill doesn’t pass “the pro-life test”.
A vote on health care could come by the end of this week.