Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D.-Mont.) says the America’s Healthy Future Act is ready for a vote.
The committee completed amending the bill in the small hours on Friday, after a week spent debating hundreds of amendments, including ones on abortion, a public option and a mandate for individuals to buy health insurance coverage. "We have a bill that will improve the lives of every American," Baucus said in a statement. "And one that does so in a fiscally responsible way."
With Democrats outnumbering Republicans 13-10 on the committee, Baucus expressed confidence the bill would pass when it comes up for a final vote, expected to occur sometime in the middle of next week. Less certain is the bill’s fate after it leaves committee, as it will have to be reconciled with competing bills leaving other committees, such as the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
In a statement, President Obama praised the efforts of the Finance Committee.
"Thanks to the unyielding commitment of Senator Baucus and members of the Senate Finance Committee, we have reached another milestone in our effort to pass health insurance reform,” Obama said in a statement. As a result of this work, we are now closer than ever before to finally passing reform that will offer security to those who have coverage and affordable insurance to those who don’t. We have a long way to go, but I am confident that as we move forward, we will continue to engage with each other as productively as the members of the Finance Committee, and will get reform passed this year."
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