Senate Health Care Developments — Contact Your Senators NOW

December 16, 2009
by Ann Beltran, Domestic Policy Volunteer, RESULTS

Today, Wednesday, December 16, the single-payer amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is being read on the floor of the Senate as I write this. As silly as the reading formality requested by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) seems to me, it does give us another twelve hours to e-mail (my calls are not getting through today) our senators and make one last push for their vote on this. While there seems no chance of passing, both Congress and the American people need to know the support for meaningful reform of the administration of health care is still alive and fighting! While the need for the 60th vote in the Senate has hamstrung the efforts of the majority of Congress to enact a public option or something that reasonably substitutes it, the opposition only serves to strengthen the platform for Health Care Reform 2.0 in the coming years that will get us closer to bending the cost trajectory.

Two other amendments of interest remain, but it appears unclear what will actually get voted on as the window for action before year end gets smaller with each passing day. Two that may still come up are:

  • The amendment by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) that would protect and improve CHIP by providing full funding for the program through 2019, setting a floor for income eligibility for children at 250 percent of FPL starting in 2014, guaranteeing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) for CHIP children, and streamlining the enrollment process. Last week, over 500 organizations and groups signed a letter in support of the Casey amendment. Take Action to Strengthen Health Care for America’s Children.
  • An amendment sponsored by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and five other senators that would give states the option to eliminate the five-year waiting period for lawfully residing immigrants who need access to Medicaid. updated Powerpoint presentation available for your use to focus on ensuring that reform reaches the poorest through Medicaid expansion and growth of community health centers.

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