Senate Begins Debate on Health Care Reform


The Senate began debate Nov. 30th on its version of health care reform legislation. Opening statements came from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The debate is expected to heat up as the parties offer alternating amendments. Rumor on the Hill is that Reid will conduct much of the work for consensus on the bill in the privacy of his office. According to American Health Line (11/30/09) four moderate members of the Democratic Party have been requested to attend private meetings to discuss the public option – Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Ben Nelson (D-NE).

Of interest to emergency physicians is an amendment proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) that would add 2,000 residency positions to the current cohort of 100,000. Although it is unclear from the amendment which specialties would benefit from the additional training positions, physicians have conveyed their concern to lawmakers that health reform legislation will increase the demand for medical care.

Separating reality from rhetoric is always a major task in Washington D.C., and the debate over health care in America has only made that task more difficult. What IS apparent, however, is that the White House has decided to weigh-in with its own public relations campaign.

Check out this video featuring Vice President Joe Biden and the presidents of the American Association of Family Physicians and the American Nurses Association. You tell me…..reality or rhetoric?

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