The Medicare bill passed the Senate a few hours ago! This is a good thing: it prevents a rate cut to doctors with Medicare patients–and do it by using savings creating by leveling the playing field between the basic Medicare program and private Medicare health plans. It would also provide new consumer protections and improvements in the Medicare program.
It got overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, but there was some drama in the Senate before the July 4th holiday. The bill got 59 votes–one shy of being able to break a potential filibuster and advance.
The bill had unanimous Democratic support, and some Republican support–although not of Sen. John McCain, who was not present. The only Democratic vote that was not present was Sen. Ted Kennedy, ailing from his recent cancer diagnosis.
So it’s a fitting moment when Sen. Kennedy, a champion on health care, made a rare appearance since his own health crisis to ensure this health reform passes.
Ultimately, he wasn’t the swing vote: The final vote was 69 in favor: Enough to override President Bush’s threatened veto!
It’s good to see that *some* progress is possible in Congress…