Senate Votes to Move Forward With Health Care Debate

The Senate on Saturday voted 60-39 to move forward and begin debate on health care reform legislation, H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. All Democratic and Independent members of the Senate voted in favor of moving forward with debate on the measure, while all Republicans who were present (one was absent) voted against it.

The full Senate is expected to begin debate on the bill after the Thanksgiving holiday recess and consider amendments through most of December. Inclusion of a “public option” or government-run health insurance plan is the most contentious provision in the bill. Most Democrats favor inclusion of the public option, although Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana have come out against it. Independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut said he will oppose any bill with a public option and called the idea of a government-run plan “radical” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation opposes a public option or government-run health care.

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