Key Senators Could Influence
In anticipation of the full Senate debate on health reform, news organizations are keeping tabs on lawmakers who could become players or obstructers when the bill hits the floor.
The Washington Post: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., "has no faith that Congress will improve America's health care system and says the Senate even makes it hard for him to heal the sick. He recently had to stop delivering babies and now only sees a few patients for free because of what he calls absurd rules governing outside compensation for U.S. senators" (Jordan, 11/10).
The Burlington Free Press: "As the spotlight on health care reform shifts from the House to the more conservative Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will be pushing for a hard left turn in the form of a single-payer system." Because even Sanders admits such a plan would not be politically viable nationally, he is pushing to allow states to create their own, miniature single-payer systems (Gaudiano, 11/10).
Roll Call: Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., a moderate, said he would not vote to allow a reform bill to be debated unless it includes language restricting federal funds to be applied towards private insurance plans that cover abortions (Drucker, 11/9).
New York Times: Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican and pivotal centrist courted by the White House, delivered a blistering critique of the Senate bill on Monday, saying she could not support it because it would increase insurance costs for many middle-income families and small businesses (Pear, 11/9).