WASHINGTON, DC –Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell voted with the majority in a 60-39 Senate roll call vote to begin a historic floor debate on health care reform legislation. This action, which required a 60-vote “supermajority” of the Senate, sends to the floor legislation put together by two Senate committees and the Senate leadership. Senators will debate and amend the bill over the coming weeks, and another 60-vote majority will be required to end debate.
The health care reform bill is fully paid for, meeting President Obama’s directive that it add “not one dime” to the federal deficit. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate bill willreduce the federal budget deficit by $127 billion in the first ten years and cover 94 percent of the uninsured.
“This vote represents a major step toward a goal that has eluded us for generations: a significant reform of our nation’s health care system,” said Cantwell. “Despite partisan differences, a remarkably strong consensus has formed over our basic aims: maintaining quality, reining in out-of-control costs, and covering the uninsured. During debate, I intend to work with my colleagues to preserve the many strong measures in the bill and to strengthen provisions that will further drive down costs for families and businesses.”
Today, Senator Cantwell spoke on the Senate floor about two provisions included in the bill during debate in the Senate Finance Committee. Cantwell, a member of the Finance Committee, discussed the need to transform the Medicare reimbursement system so that it rewards quality rather than quantity in the health care system. She also described her Basic Health Plan, modeled after Washington state’s Basic Health, which gives states the power to negotiate with private insurance for lower premiums to cover the uninsured. The speech can be accessed here at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ID/215784&start=9837&end=10767.