Snowed-In Senate Has Breakthrough on Health Care

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Sen. Ben Nelson Photo: Getty Images

The Senate says they won a pivotal vote today from longtime holdout Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, who will become the critical 60th vote needed to pass the Senate's health care bill on to the House, but not before a few concessions were made to Nelson:

"Mr. Reid’s amendment includes major restrictions on abortion that were intended to win support for the bill from Mr. Nelson. Under Mr. Reid’s proposal, health insurance plans are not required or forbidden to cover abortion services, but there is a major exemption that would give states power to prohibit abortion coverage in the insurance markets, or exchanges, where most health plans would be sold.

Mr. Reid’s amendment also includes a substantial increase in federal contributions to Nebraska’s costs of providing Medicaid coverage to the poor."

The compromise was reached after many hours of negotiation with Sen. Nelson.

Democrats Say They Clinch Deal on Health Care Overhaul [NYT]