Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska is the 60th Health Care Vote
Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska is the 60th vote today for the health care legislation in the Senate, and the Senator said that he made the decision to vote for the legislation due to "winning new concessions to limit the availability of abortion in insurance" and tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid funds for Nebraska.
"I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and I appreciate their right to disagree," he said at a news conference in the Capitol, referring to the abortion issue. "But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions."
The Congressional Budget Office said that this revised legislation would lower deficits by $132 billion over the next ten years, with the possibility for more reductions.
At the White House, Obama cited those numbers in hailing the legislation as "the largest deficit reduction plan in a decade." In a brief statement, the president also said the country is "on the cusp of making health care reform a reality."
The bill is forecasted to expand to 94 percent of eligible Americans under 65; this is excluding illegal immigrants.
Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said the measure "will finally level the playing field between American families and the insurance industry."
The legislation is expected to pass before Christmas
"This bill is a legislative train wreck of historic proportions," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said. He said it includes cuts to Medicare, home health care and hospices as well as "massive tax increases" at a time of double-digit unemployment.
The main goal of the legislation is that it is expected to spread coverage to millions of Americans that need it and currently don't have it, and the White House wants to slow the rate of growth in national medical spending across the country.