Senate Finance Committee passes healthcare bill

Get ready for a healthcare smack down later this month. With the Senate Finance Committee's 14-9 approval of its healthcare reform bill yesterday, the measure will move to a full floor debate, expected by the end of October.

There are still miles to go before anyone sleeps. Democrats remain divided on key issues, such as whether to create a public option insurance program or how much to offer low-income or moderate-income people who can't afford to buy insurance. Several Finance Committee members also warned that their vote to advance the bill should not be misconstrued as unconditional support.

As the only Republican who voted in favor of the bill, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe said that although the measure wasn't perfect, she considered it a vote for the history books--plus, she can always change her position in the floor vote.

The committee's top Republican, Chuck Grassley, stated that the legislation opens the door for a massive government expansion, placing the nation on a "slippery slope" toward a government takeover of the healthcare system.

"A lot of people aren't going to be able to keep what they have, as the president promised," said Iowa's Grassley.

But others, including the White House and Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), hailed the committee's action. Baucus noted it moved the country one step closer to enacting "real reform," while the White House noted that Congress has done more to advance healthcare reform this year than it has in decades

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will reduce the number of people who are uninsured by 29 million, cost $829 billion and slash the budget deficit by $81 billion within the next decade.

For more on the story:
-read The Hill article