The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed out a bill on a 13-10 vote, with all Democrats voting in support. Here’s the report on Kaiser Health News.
This was a milestone vote. After considering over 500 amendments and accepting 170 Republican amendments, the Senate HELP Committee passed out a detailed bill, one that Senator Dodd, acting chairman, described as a “bipartisan effort,” if not a biparisan bill. He referenced Senator Kennedy, the chairman, saying “he was here in spirit. He was very excited that his committee was the first committee to pass a bill.”
This bill goes to the floor, but it will need to be melded by what is passed by the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Max Baucus. One of the many questions is how quickly that can be done.
We’ll have more about the actual substance of the bill, but the momentum is heartening.