December 21st, 2009
07:59 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Buying Health Care Reform Votes

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we're tracking your money on Capitol Hill. It's buying votes for health care reform.

The Senate vote to end debate on a $871 billion bill took place early this morning, very early. 1 a.m. ET. The final tally was 60-40, straight-down party lines. All Republicans voted no. All Democrats and two independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Bernie Sanders voted yes.

How did the Dems get those 60 votes? That's what we're looking into.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) had to reel in moderates like Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

Nelson got a provision added to the bill that would let your tax dollars pay for any Medicaid expansion in his state of Nebraska. No other state has that benefit.

He's not the only senator who made a deal.

We'll tell you who else got something in the negotiations.

Back to Sen. Harry Reid, he said there's nothing wrong with the tactic. He sees it simply as politics.

"That's what legislation is all about. It's the art of compromise," Reid said.

Republicans fired back on the Senate floor.

"Make no mistake, if the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn't be forcing this vote in the dead of night, " Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said.

What do you think of the vote? Sound off below.

The bill faces a few procedural votes this week, with a final vote expected Christmas Eve. It's expected to win approval, again along party lines. Then the bill must be reconciled with a House version.

Tonight, we'll dig deeper into the two different versions and show you what's at stake for you and your family.

Also on our radar, the New Jersey father at the center of an international custody fight. David Goldman hopes to find out tomorrow if Brazil's Supreme Court will let him bring home his 9-year-old son Sean. We've been following this case since 2004, when Goldman's wife took Sean to Brazil and never returned. She filed for divorce, remarried and died last year giving birth to a daughter. Since then, Sean's been living with his stepfather in Brazil.

Tonight, you'll hear from David Goldman and the lawyer for the Sean's Brazilian family.

And, we're looking at a new order from the U.S. general in charge of northern Iraq that makes getting pregnant or impregnating a fellow soldier an offense punishable by court-martial.

"Anyone who leaves this fight earlier than the expected 12-month deployment creates a burden on their teammates. Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status - or contributes to doing that to another - is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos," Gen. Anthony Cucolo explained in a statement sent to the troops

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Lee Talbot


    December 22, 2009 at 7:44 am |
  2. charles

    If this bill is pass and insurance companies are froce not to drop anyone for preexiting condition what is to stop them from charging $10000 a month. How are they going to decied if i can afford insurace or not. I make a good living but almost of my money is gone at the end month. I gusses many people will file bankrupts just to pay there insurance futher putting more people out of work and making the unempolyment go up. Hope the democrats enjoyed there failed control.

    December 22, 2009 at 2:47 am |
  3. Francis Moss

    In response to Annie Kate's first comment, yes the command will take action against both individuals as they are both in violation of the command's order. Now, if the female refuses to offer-up her beau, well then she's left to face the music alone. Soldiers, especially in the field, are subject to plenty of rules not applicable to the general public. Sacrificing some one's own freedoms is part of the price paid for preserving the freedoms of others.

    As for the Senate's bill, I find it odd that a party elected on a "end business as usual" drum beat, can be defended for literally paying off Congressmen for their votes. If the bill is so just, it shouldn't require bribes. This is simply a case of the ends justifying the means. There really needs to be some mandatory ethical education done whithin our legislature, just like our Soldiers must go through.

    December 22, 2009 at 2:26 am |
  4. Kathy Grant

    Re: Health Care. What is the difference between pork" and a "bribe" to pass healthcare? Unbelievable!!!!

    December 22, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  5. edward

    Healthcare is pretty good in the U.S. We need insurance reform. MOST family doctors would see you and your family for a small % of the money I spend on yearly premiums. It is the major medical that matters, surg, hit by bus or head/neck/heart/blood disease that keeps the scales on insurance and pharma tipped. I don't know the answer but if I am country dum, my proposal is to change insurance as it is currently run NOT Healthcare.

    December 22, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  6. Brian Racin

    When is reform not Reform? When is an option not an Option? When they are both edicts passed on from 'legislators' whose job is to represent their constituents. Most bills passed by 'legislators' (and I believe 'legislate' means to "enact law;" however most laws are enacted with lobbyists money being placed into 'legislators' coffers, so that in essence they are being 'bribed' .... therefore to 'legislate' as the process currently exists runs counter to the lawmaking process since taking 'bribes' to enact a 'law' [edict] is in direct opposition to the meaning of law since 'bribery' is against the 'law!') don't represent constituencies since special interest, or 'pork' is the final result. If a public 'option' were truly an option then I should have the Right to Opt Out if I so desire. The House provision to penalize anyone who does not buy health care is totalitarian in nature since it is forced, and Not an 'option,' therefore by definition should be struck from the bill completely. There are too many pages of 'doublespeak' in the House version and the Senate version where it's so obvious, that in dealing with pure pork, that "some pigs are more equal than others," even though "all pigs are created equal!" Reform, in this instance is supposed to make health care affordable, but it does Not reduce the cost of providers Or insurance, but merely ensures that high amounts of money will continue to flow into the "healthcare industry" which makes up 15% of our GDP. The Hippocratic Oath has been turned upside down since it no longer deals with saving lives, just profits!!!!

    December 22, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  7. J.V.Hodgson

    I really do not understand the outright resistance of some people to this legislation, and its basic objectives which if you are happy with what you have keep it thier will another system for those 31-47m who cannot afford.
    Having said that the pork that has gone in to get cloture is in all liklihood going to have to be removed if a final reconciled bill is to be passed.
    I think Reid agreed to these to get cloture and more importantly reconciliation underway, in the firm belief they will be voted out by House reps and other concessions made to republicans at the last minute to get the 60 majority in the Senate.

    December 22, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  8. jay

    I am so happy to see these comments. Just remember this next November when it comes time to vote. We need to elect fiscally responsible politicians. I don't care whether or not they are Republicans or Democrats, just fiscally responsible. The current recession was brought on by too much credit. The current government did not learn from this.

    December 22, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  9. jjcandy

    I'm happy for all American specially for the one's with out Health insurance. If you never been with out health insurance, sick and little money in you pocket "DON'T give your opinion on this topic. I work in a County Hospital and pure reality hit me on the face every day. It's very sad what people with out health insurance go through. And instead of criticizing the government why don't you all help with solution. Now don't expect things to get better right away when it comes about the economy REMEMBER this didn't happen just a few mouth ago this started before 2000 and NO body say or do anything.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  10. Kay

    Living in Michigan and having it be in a recession for far longer than the rest of the country, it makes me sick all this wheeling and dealing with other peoples money (taxpayers) and lives, and benefits going to the last hold outs on the heathcare bill, democratic senators states ! It is criminal, unjust and the whole thing disgusting! This administration has villified insurance companies, doctors, policemen, bankers, but gee, they forgot the real villains-themselves!

    December 21, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  11. William Gunkle

    I am so sick of the backroom deals made and I am not in favor of this bill as it now stands. It is not about helping the poor who need it but rather "How much can I get out of it".

    December 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  12. Emily jeglum

    I am so proud of the Democrates for thinking of the citizen for a change instead of lining the pocket of the Drug and insurance companies. Thats all the republicans did the last 8 years!This is the only country in the world that makes a profit off the people being sick! Our representatives on the right had 8 years to fix this, they should all be ashamed! I don't care if they had to buy the votes , it isn't the first time its been done and won't be the last! Way to go President Obama and Harry Reed!

    December 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  13. Spencer

    Harry Reid needs to go! Tell me, if this bill is so good, why are you not giving anyone a chance to read it and why are you rushing this vote. Come on...1 'o clock in the morning during a blizzard. What's the rush? You need to get things worked out with your buddy, Ms. Pelosi. She's not even there right now! Why don't you come home to Nevada and face some questions from the people that got you there. Now, along with my own insurance, I'm going to be paying for Medicaid in Nebraska. How does that help my family?
    I'll remember this in November. If you want to get a bill passed before you get voted out, vote for TERM LIMITS...PLEASE!

    December 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  14. Todd

    Just goes to prove our system still works. It is a shame the 100 people we have chosen to represent us at the highest levels are manipulators and opportunists. If they had to have this plan for themselves they would never be making these mob style deals. They are all incredulous and should all be thrown out. We did it to ourselves and we have the opportunity to fix it soon. Let's do the right thing America.

    December 21, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  15. Lynn McGinnis

    The Senate Healthcare debate and vote has been a great lesson in how our government ACTUALLY works. Because American voters have SHORT memories, there will no blowback in the fall elections.

    From a retired American History teacher.

    December 21, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  16. cordhs@cox.net

    I was always told one was punished for bribery – sometimes to jail. And it isnothing different than that – LA, NE, VT, and who is next. And I don't appreciate paying for a another state's health care premiums – maybe we should all establish residency in Nebraska.

    December 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  17. Ruth

    I'm a registered Democrat, pro choice, HOWEVER, I along with the majority of Americans do not want the Health Care Bill so here's my suggestion.....Since my tax payer dollars are paying for Abortion, I suggest we start the abortion process on the Democrats in Congress in 2010 and Obama in 2012.

    December 21, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  18. Wendy

    The part of the bill saying that they will not pay for abortions if you receive any support from the government to pay for your insurance is extremely unfair. I had an amniocentesis that came back with results that my baby was going to born with multiple health problems that would have required several painful surgeries and reduced her quality of life. I chose to have an abortion, rather than put my family into bankruptcy to keep her alive for just a few years. I am so glad my insurance paid for that abortion, because I know they would not have helped me fully with all of our later medical bills. Not all abortions are because "Mom got knocked up because she wasn't using birth control."

    December 21, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  19. mike

    I am ashamed to be a constituent of Senator Harry Reid. His bribery of several senators, using our tax money is without a doubt the most heinous government act since the interment of the Japanese American population during World War 2. I am only consoled by the fact that Senator Reid will soon be a regular citizen, as he will lose his senate seat in Nevada in 2010, for this and other idiocy he has participated in during the last several months.

    December 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  20. Conserve' for USA

    It seems fair to me. All the other states get to pay medicare for Nebraska. We must not be the United States any more!

    December 21, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  21. Seitt pronounced set

    Scott O'Neal look it is both partys not just one they are both ripping the people off and have been for 15 years moree than was normal back then a lot more

    December 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  22. John Dallas Tx

    Everyone in the other 49 states should be emailing their Senators wanting just exactly what NE got. I know "trade offs are the norm in DC but this one is beyond the Pale. S Ben N (NE). held himself out to be a True Believer in what he thought was right. ( limited abortion payments) and then when $100 Million + was stuck in his (NE) pocket, he collasped like a sack of wet wheat. ( or Corn would be more apropos:). Stinks!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  23. joanne shaw

    Just to say that there are a lots of small business, like 4 to 5 people and they said they will just let them go that works for them because they can't afford health care. Also from what you have been sayings it don't seem like it will help familys,but do more harm. It won't affect the senators or congress, they won't have the same insurance any how. If people can't pay for there familys insurance now how do they expect them to after the health bill is passed. I have always voted Democrats but now i will change my vote. I have heard a lots say that.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  24. Scott O'Neal

    Nobody likes a bully; nobody likes an arrogant person, and nobody likes a crook. The Democrats are shoving this porkbarrel healthcare bill down the throats of Americans in the face of nearly a 60% opposition in virtually every poll in America. There was an old expression in the military when we had to endure some stupid decision like this; BOHICA (Bend Over...Here It Comes Again!). Those lying, back-room bunch of crooks are shoving their plan down the throats of Americans. Frankly, I think they should all be lined up against a wall and buggy-whipped, stripped, put on a rail, tarred and feathered, and run out of town,
    The part that makes me the maddest is that they shove this on us, but they keep their gold plated healthcare plan. Reminds me of Marie Antoinette "let them eat cake!" They are clueless about middle class America. They need to be made to live with the same crappy bill they are shoving down our throat. Let's see what they would do if they had to live like the rest of us.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  25. Gary Orback

    Where's the change ? During the election we were told that pork and earmarks were going to stop. There is more pork in this bill than a live pig. Meanwhile the country sinks further into debt that can never be paid and the interest will eat up future budgets.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  26. JMN

    I am sick, I pay about $2200 a month for insurance, and I feel like Congress just signed my death certificate.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    I hope that if the military needs to court-martial a woman for getting pregnant that they also court-martial the GI that contributed to the pregnancy. Fair is fair and it takes 2 to tango as they say.

    The little deals for different states on the health care reform leaves a bad taste in my mouth – the insurance won't be the same from state to state; that just complicates matters and confuses the public. Heath care reform should be the same across the country and not a special deal for any specific states.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm |