"Last Saturday night, we passed the bill out of the House. That's the first time any one of the two chambers have actually passed a health care bill, even though they've been trying since 1912 since Teddy Roosevelt was President," said Congressman Bart Stupak.
It's big news for the almost 50 million Americans who will go to sleep tonight without health insurance. It's been almost 100 years in the making, and now, it's in the hands of the Senate.
Today at the 2009 Upper Peninsula Health care Conference in Marquette, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow spelled out for medical professionals the goals of reform:
"To stop the unfair insurance practices, to strengthen Medicare and to lower costs for small businesses and individuals who don't have insurance now. And it's particularly important to me to make sure that if somebody loses their job, they don't lose their health insurance," said Senator Stabenow.
The Senator offered a statistic that everyday in the United States, 14,000 people wake up with health insurance, then go to bed that night without it. She doesn't believe that "doing nothing" is an option, because in addition to insuring a greater number of Americans, health care reform could positively affect the job market and the economy as a whole.
"Health care is tied to jobs. It's tied to economics. Right now, businesses can't afford health care, or their premiums are going up, so they lay people off, or they can't find insurance that's affordable to them. And so it's all connected, jobs and health care," Senator Stabenow stated.
Senator Stabenow tells Upper Michigan's Source that the health care reform bill will be the Senate's main focus during the month of December, but it's certainly not going unchallenged. Republicans argue that it's too expensive and puts too much control in the hands of the government. And even in a Democrat-controlled Senate, it may be tough to get the 60 votes it needs to pass.