••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

WASHINGTON – Rejecting Republican amendments, Democrats turned back GOP efforts to cast the health care overhaul as a tax hike on the middle class Thursday, as a crucial Senate panel aimed to wrap up debate on the measure by nightfall.

The outcome increasingly appeared inevitable with Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., declaring he had the votes for approval of the bill embracing President Barack Obama's priorities of extending coverage to the uninsured and holding down spiraling medical costs.

The final committee vote probably won't happen until next week so senators and the Congressional Budget Office have time to review the legislation. The full Senate and House are to take it up later this month.

The legislation would dramatically reshape the U.S. health care system, extending coverage to about 95 percent of Americans, making carrying insurance a requirement for the first time, providing subsidies to help poorer people buy health plans and barring insurance industry practices like dropping coverage for sick people.

A new purchasing exchange, or marketplace, would let people shop for and compare insurance plans that would be required to meet certain standards. Baucus' bill leaves out a new government-run insurance plan — opposed by Republicans — to compete with private companies.

However senators agreed Thursday to let state governments negotiate basic coverage plans for some lower-income people. The author of an amendment on that subject, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said it's a form of a public plan but would rely on the private sector and would result in more affordable coverage, a major concern for senators.

The measure would apply to people who make up to twice the federal poverty level — about $44,000 for a family of four — but make too much to qualify for Medicare. States could use federal subsidies to negotiate with private insurers to write coverage plans for those people.

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