The U.S. Senate voted to pass a sweeping health care overhaul bill earlier this morning. It passed 60 to 39. The measure has to be reconciled with a companion House bill that passed last month.
Here's DFL Sen. Al Franken's statement on the vote:
"Too many Minnesotans - too many Americans - are suffering as a result of our broken health care system," said Sen. Franken. "The legislation that the Senate just passed today will bring health coverage to an additional 295,000 Minnesotans by 2019 and give millions more the peace of mind that they will no longer be one diagnosis, one accident, one pre-existing condition, or one pink slip away from losing health coverage. This bill does not fix all the problems with our health care system, but it will help begin to bring down costs and is a significant down payment toward the goal of quality affordable health care for all Americans."
You can also listen to Franken's final Senate floor statement on the bill: Listen
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar issued this statement praising the passage of the health care bill:
"The Senate vote this morning was an important step forward to a final vote on health care reform. I will continue to push for a final bill that includes strong Minnesota-model cost reforms, deficit reduction, protections against insurance company abuses, and strong, stable Medicare coverage.
Minnesotans know that we can't simply keep pushing our problems to another day. Rising health care costs are unsustainable, busting the budgets of families and businesses alike.
This legislation includes some of my key priorities: It would begin to rein in costs by rewarding value instead of volume, something I worked extensively with the Mayo Clinic to include. The Senate bill reduces the fee on medical devices that was included in the Senate Finance Committee version by $18 billion. It would improve breast cancer screening. It includes incentives for more rural and primary doctors. It makes it easer for small businesses to purchase health care with extensive tax credits. It fixes the donut hole by giving seniors coverage for their prescription drugs. And it includes provisions to combat Medicare fraud which siphons off $60 billion a year in taxpayer money.
As we move toward a final vote, I'll continue my efforts to ensure that reform serves the best interests of Minnesota."