Health Care Baton Passed to Senate

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is finalizing his version of health care reform on Monday.
    
But supporters are growing increasingly worried, because there is no consensus among Senate Democrats. There is no final bill, and no guarantee that it will follow the House's lead and vote before the end of the year.
 
Democrats now look to the Senate for the next peg in reforming health care.  But two words appear to spell disaster for their short-lived victory in the House: public option.

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America appeared on Monday's CBN Newschannel Morning program to discuss the abortion funding language in the House health care bill and if it will survive in the Senate.  Click here to watch the interview.

"The public option plan is unnecessary," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., on Fox News Sunday. "It has been put forward; I'm convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance."

In the final hours before the vote, Republicans rallied on the steps of the Capitol in an effort to defeat the bill.  

"Let me ask you a question," said Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. "Is President Obama going to be your doctor? Can we fix stupid? No!"

House Passes Bill

In the end, their efforts failed.  The House narrowly passed their reform bill, but only after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caved to the demands of pro-life Democrats, who wanted language in the bill explicitly banning the use of taxpayer money to pay for abortions.
    
President Obama, who personally lobbied lawmakers over the weekend, hailed the vote as historic and pressed the Senate to act quickly.

"Given the heated an often misleading rhetoric surrounding this legislation I know this was a courageous vote for many members of Congress and I'm grateful to them and the rest of their colleagues for taking us this far," the president said Sunday.

The House plan covers about 96 percent of Americans, requires everyone to have insurance or pay a penalty, and requires employers to provide insurance or face fines.
    
Low income earners would get assistance to help them buy coverage, and insurance companies would be banned from denying or dropping coverage for pre-existing conditions.
    
The House bill also creates a government-run insurance plan.
    
The reforms will cost about $1.1 trillion to put in place and will be paid for by taxing the wealthy and cuts to Medicare.

Public Opposition
    
With strong public opposition to the bill, Republicans now have their eyes set on the 2010 midterm elections.

"Nancy Pelosi last night said that they were answering the call of history," said Rep. Mike Pence on Fox News Sunday.  "Well, I've got to tell you, if Democrats keep ignoring the American people, their party is going to be history in about a year."

Democrats believe the House vote creates momentum to keep the ball moving.

"I believe we're going to pass health care reform," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. "I believe we must do this because it's essential to not just the quality of life, here, but our economic success in the future."

Federally-funded Abortions

But the final Senate bill likely will be a much-watered down version of what passed in the House.  And liberal Democrats will try to strip out the ban on federally-funded abortions.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who helped to get the amendment passed in the house, told CBN News that pro-life supporters will keep fighting to keep the measure a part of the bill.

"We have to fight as passionately as you can," he said. "That when you do health care it doesn't become the conduit for the polar opposite of health care which is abortion, which kills babies."

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