New York Senator Charles Schumer Rejects Healthcare Reform Failure

Declaring that “failure is not an option” on healthcare reform, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)  said that the legislation will be passed with or without Republican support. “We’re not going to not pass a bill,” Schumer said, pointing to a healthcare system that is broken because some 47 million Americans lack any kind of insurance coverage.

Before this can happen, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has the task of resolving issues within his own party regarding abortion, taxes and allowing the government to sell health insurance in competition with private insurers.  Democratic leaders are working to persuade Senator Olympia Snow (R-ME) to cross party lines and vote in favor of the ultimate bill, even though she sided with her fellow Republicans on the recent procedural vote to move the debate to the full Senate floor.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives bills require all Americans to have healthcare insurance, and plan to make government subsidies available to help pay premiums.  Insurance companies would be banned from denying coverage or charging extra for individuals with pre-existing conditions.  New insurance marketplaces would be created for those Americans who have difficulty finding affordable coverage – such as the self-employed and those who own small businesses.  Americans who currently have employer-provided coverage won’t see any big changes in their coverage.  Senior citizens will see improvement in their prescription coverage.

As for paying for these bills?  The House bill depends primarily on an income tax hike on upper-income individuals.  The Senate bill would tax Cadillac insurance plans, increase the Medicare payroll tax for the wealthy and mandate fees on medical industries.

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