Nearly 10 months after President Obama asked the Democrat-led Congress to send him a health care reform bill, the Senate has come closer than ever to debating Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's $848 billion bill in the face of stubborn Republican opposition.
The Congressional Budget Office said that 94 percent of Americans would be covered under the bill including 31 million who are currently uninsured. It includes a public, government-run health insurance option but allows states to opt out.
Republicans criticized Senator Reid's bill saying that it would raise taxes, cut funds to Medicare for senior citizens and increase the power of the federal government over individual choice in health care.
Senator Reid needs 60 votes in order to bring the bill to the floor for debate and he will spend the coming weeks hankering for the support of on-the-fence Democrats like Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
The first part of this video is a report on the coming showdown in the Senate over health care reform and in the second part of this video, health analyst Susan Dentzer explains the next steps in the process for putting health care legislation on the president's desk.
"No one can ever remember a bill that affects everybody in America, as this health care reform bill does." - Senator Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
"For months we have been warning the American people of the Democrats' plans to raise premiums, raise taxes, and slash Medicare in order to fund more government. Americans know that is not reform. And, unfortunately, the majority hasn't been listening." - Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky
"I'm worried that [the Senate health care reform bill] will raise taxes or send us even deeper into debt. That's what history shows us about government-run insurance programs. So, we have got a lot of work to do. But I think Senator Reid got us off to a good start. It's going to be an important debate." - Senator Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut
"We reach out to our Republican colleagues, and we would like to work with them. But everyone should understand, we're going to do a bill. We hope that we don't have to do it with Democrats. But, if we have to, we will." - Senator Harry Reid
1. What is health insurance?
2. What is a bill and how does it become a law?
3. What are some philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats?
4. How does politics sometimes get in the way of making good laws?
1. Why is health insurance reform controversial? What do both sides have to win or lose?
2. Why is health care so important to Americans? Why would this legislation be such a big deal?
3. Many people are talking about how to reform health care in the United States, how would you do it?
4. Senator Harry Reid remarked "No one can ever remember a bill that affects everybody in America, as this [health care reform] bill does." What do you think of this statement? What were some of the most important bills in American history? How did they impact Americans?
5. Do your own research on how bills move through the House and Senate. What does it mean for a bill to "go to the floor?" What happens after the House and the Senate pass different versions of the same bill? What do you think about this process?