Tags: healthcare | bill

Democratic Support for Health Bill in Danger

Friday, 06 Nov 2009 11:18 AM

By Dan Weil

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Support for the healthcare reform bill is wavering among House Democrats over the issues of abortion and immigration.

Already there are about 25 Democrats who will definitely vote against the bill, The Washington Post reports.

All Republicans are expected to vote against the bill, and there are 258 Democrats in the House.

That means the Democratic leadership can’t lose more than 40 votes to gain the 218 needed for approval.

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As for abortion, the House bill would allow plans that are established for individuals who don’t have insurance through their jobs to pay for abortions.

Insurance companies would have to separate government payments from private ones, and only the latter could be used for abortion.

But Democratic abortion opponents shrug that off as an accounting distinction and want a stronger measure.

Up to 40 Democrats may vote against the bill over abortion, so House leaders are trying to draft a compromise that would insure support from about 12 of those 40, The Post reports.

Also at risk is the support of Hispanic Democrats, thanks to the immigration issue. The Hispanics oppose adding a Senate provision that would bar illegal immigrant workers from purchasing private insurance, even with their own money

These representatives met with President Obama Thursday, but said he offered them no assurances. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., told The Post that 20 representatives will vote against the bill if it includes the restrictive language.

House Democratic leaders have set a weekend deadline for passing the bill, and they express confidence that it will pass.

But House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, Va., told reporters, "I can't figure out how many votes they've got." He said Democrats are "a long way from the 218 necessary."

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