December 21 2009, 9:45 AM
Very early this morning, the U.S. Senate voted 60-40 to end debate on the Democrats' health-care-reform bill, setting the stage for a final vote later this week. No Republicans voted for the bill, which New York magazine, among many outlets, predicts will pass before Christmas Eve. But just because the Dems and two independents are lined up for the legislation doesn't mean it satisfies all lawmakers. The leaders of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, including Denver Representative Diana DeGette, voiced "serious reservations" with the bill's abortion provision over the weekend. "This provision is not only offensive to people who believe in choice, but it is also possibly unconstitutional," say DeGette and caucus co-chair Louise M. Slaughter (via The Hill). "As we have maintained throughout this process, health-care reform should not be misused to take away access to health care." Other liberals accuse Senate leaders of giving in to centrists on the idea of a government-run insurance plan, leaving the White House and its allies to concede that the $871 billion Senate bill is not ideal but still aims to transform the system for Americans who have insurance and the millions who would otherwise go without (via The Washington Post). "This is major reform," White House senior political adviser David Axelrod declared on NBC's "Meet the Press" (via RealClearPolitics). "It's not perfect. And over time, it may improve." There are definite winners and losers in the bill, writes The Associated Press. For instance, Nebraska, Louisiana, Vermont, and Massachusetts will get more federal help paying for a proposed Medicaid expansion than other states. Tanning salons, meanwhile, will be hit with a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services.