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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Nelson: Health care bill 'isn't perfect' but system 'needs to be fixed'



Senate Democrats, including Florida's Bill Nelson, passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama's legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in the country's history.

The 60-39 vote on a cold winter morning capped months of arduous negotiations and 24 days of floor debate. It also followed a succession of failures by past congresses to get to this point. Vice President Joe Biden presided as 58 Democrats and two independents voted "yes. Sen. George LeMieux and fellow Republicans unanimously voted "no." (story here)

“Regardless of where we stand on specifics, I think most can agree the system is broken and needs to be fixed," said Nelson. “While the Senate bill I voted for isn't perfect, it has many good elements."

“It will prevent insurers from dropping the sick and stop them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.  It also will reduce the deficit. And it includes one of my amendments to protect 800,000 seniors in Medicare HMOs all over Florida.

“Congress still has to merge this bill with the House version. And I’ve told negotiators I want them to close the "donut hole" gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage.”

LeMiuex said Tuesday: “This bill will not lower the cost of health insurance for most Americans, and some will see their insurance premiums go up by an additional 10 to 13 percent. This effort was sold as a way to lower health care costs but it doesn’t solve the problem; it makes it worse. If this bill becomes law, seniors will have their benefits cut, fewer doctors will take new Medicare patients, and seniors will have fewer options as to who they can visit for primary care.” 

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:11pm]


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