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Health Care Reform

NATIONAL
November 21, 2009 | By Noam N. Levey
After negotiating critical last-minute commitments, Senate Democratic leaders on Friday stood on the verge of achieving the necessary 60 votes to begin debate on the most expansive healthcare legislation to go before the Senate in nearly half a century. Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who had been among three Democratic holdouts, announced that he would back an all-important procedural vote set for today that would allow the chamber to take up the wide-ranging bill unveiled this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.
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NATIONAL
November 20, 2009 | By Janet Hook
Amid all of the uncertainties about how healthcare legislation would affect each American, one thing is clear: The more affluent would pay higher taxes. Embracing the progressive -- and sometimes politically risky -- principle that the cost of carrying out public policies should fall to the well-off more than the disadvantaged, both the House and Senate bills would place new taxes on the wealthy to help pay for expanded insurance coverage. But the bills differ on who counts as rich and how much they would pay. Under the House bill, couples with more than $1 million in income would pay an additional surtax of as much as 5.4%.
NATIONAL
November 16, 2009 | By Kim Geiger and James Oliphant
Some reader questions about the proposed healthcare legislation in Congress: Will abortions be covered by the legislation as it stands now? The House healthcare bill passed this month includes a provision that would bar the government-run insurance plan (the "public option") and all private insurance plans that receive federal dollars from covering abortion services. Employers can offer abortion coverage under their benefits packages. The Senate is considering similar provisions, but has not decided on specific language.
NATIONAL
November 7, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and James Oliphant
With a historic floor vote looming on their healthcare bill, House Democratic leaders worked into the night Friday to round up rank-and-file Democrats who still had not committed to support the legislation despite weeks of cajoling and deal-making. Senior Democrats maintained they would have the 218 votes needed for passage when the House votes, perhaps as early as this evening. "You don't go to the floor unless you're there -- and we're there," said Rep. John B. Larson of Connecticut, the No. 4 Democrat in the House.
NATIONAL
November 6, 2009 | Janet Hook and Noam N. Levey
With a historic House vote on a $1-trillion healthcare bill barely 48 hours away, battle lines are hardening as lobbying groups for seniors and doctors endorse the legislation, while thousands of protesters swarmed Capitol Hill to oppose it. "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!" chanted conservative and small-government advocates on Thursday, some having traveled on short notice from as far as California and Texas to protest what they saw as tantamount to socialized medicine. "No Marx.
NATIONAL
November 4, 2009 | James Oliphant
House Democratic leaders, while insisting the finish line is in sight on their overhaul of the nation's healthcare system, have hit a last-minute snag over the abortion issue. Senate Democratic leaders, meanwhile, are continuing to have problems winning over moderates in their own party -- raising the possibility that the climactic votes on healthcare might be pushed into next year. The delays in both houses reflect the fact that even though Democrats hold solid majorities, significant divisions exist below the surface, making consensus-building a delicate task at best.
NATIONAL
November 1, 2009 | By Kim Geiger and James Oliphant
Some reader questions on the national healthcare debate, focusing on the House bill unveiled Thursday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco): FOR THE RECORD: Healthcare overhaul: An article in the Nov. 1 Section A that gave questions and answers about the House healthcare bill unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said that the measure would exempt employers with yearly payrolls of less than $250,000 from providing health benefits to employees. Employers with annual payrolls of less than $500,000 would be exempted.
NATIONAL
October 30, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook
House Democrats on Thursday closed in on the votes they need to pass sweeping healthcare legislation, as party leaders introduced a 1,990-page bill designed to guarantee near-universal coverage for the first time in the nation's history. The legislation, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) officially unveiled in a ceremony outside the Capitol, represents a milestone for Democrats and advocacy groups. After more than half a century of pushing to create a government healthcare safety net, Democrats are poised to bring a bill to the House floor next week.
NATIONAL
October 29, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook
Paving the way for a crucial vote on healthcare legislation in the next two weeks, House Democratic leaders plan to unveil a compromise bill today that would create a nationwide government-run insurance plan but omit what many liberals consider the key to cost control. According to senior lawmakers and aides, the so-called public option in the new compromise would not dictate what the plan can pay hospitals, doctors and other providers. Instead, the federal government would have to negotiate rates with providers, much as private insurers do. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco)
NATIONAL
October 28, 2009 | Janet Hook and Noam N. Levey
Faced with opposition from Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) over inclusion of a government-run insurance program in the Senate healthcare bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has intensified negotiations with a handful of Democrats whose support is crucial to passing the legislation. Reid's announcement Monday that he would include a government insurance option in the bill, but allow states to opt out of it if they chose, thrilled liberal allies and Democrats in the House, where support for the so-called "public option" runs strong.
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