What to expect from the new health bill
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) shares a moment with Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, right, after the Senate passed a procedural vote on health are reform -- December 21, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: It wasn't the massive snow that pummeled Washington that kept Senators at the Capitol into early this morning. The Democratic majority voted to move a 2,074-page health care bill forward. Every Republican voted no, but the movement goes on with the Democrats' 60 votes. President Obama wants to sign a final bill early in the new year, one that'll likely offer some gain and some pain for health care. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman has the rundown.
Mitchell Hartman: Here are the broad outlines: If your employer doesn't provide health insurance, you'll have to buy it on your own or pay a fine. If you can't afford it, there's a government subsidy. There'll be fines, too, for companies that don't offer coverage.
Small businesses can get a tax credit and there are insurance exchanges to help them find cheaper plans. There's a substantial tax exemption for nonprofit health plans.
None of which mollifies Republicans, who are dead set against the reform, though they're running out of delaying tactics with today's early-morning vote. Here's Senator John Cornyn of Texas:
John Cornyn: The sheer irresponsibility of the way this is being done, with artificial deadlines, votes in the dead of night, bills cooked up behind close doors, or special deals jammed down the throats of the American people who don't want it.
For Democratic senators who held out, there are plenty of perks and sweeteners in the bill. But there's also a fair bit of bad-tasting medicine -- higher taxes on so-called "Cadillac" health plans, a hike on the Medicare payroll tax for high earners, and on drug companies, medical-device makers and for-profit health insurers.
I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.