The U.S. Senate now has the 60th vote necessary to pass health care reform. Senator Ben Nelson, D-Neb., changed his promised vote to "ya" after receiving a promise for tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions, increased federal aid for his home state and breaks for favored health-care interests. Missing is the government-run public insurance plan. The most recent cost estimate for the bill is $871 billion over the next decade.
On Saturday President Obama was on his way back from Copenhagen where he participated in the climate change conference when he received the phone call that agreement had been reached on health care. Upon returning to the White House, the President said, "There’s still much work left to be done, but not a lot of time left to do it. But today is a major step forward for the American people. After a nearly century long struggle we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality in the United States of America."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bill a monstrosity, saying this bill will reshape our nation and our lives.
The full Senate membership is expected to vote on the compromise bill Christmas Eve at 7:00 p.m.