Democrats now have the votes to pass the Senate version of national health care reform. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson is on board after holding out for some language on abortion and likely some projects and cash to take home to Cornhuskers.
The plan provides immediate relief to children with pre-existing conditions and will do the same for adults in 2014.
All Americans are required to have insurance and there will be new taxes on existing high cost plans. Insurers will be allowed to offer products nationwide outside the realm of state regulators and insurers will be required to see that at least 80% of premiums go to patient care. Lots of panels, oversight and bureacracy to go along with the higher taxes. There is something called "market exchanges" instead of a "public option."
Two questions remain.
Can the Senate version pass in the more liberal House ? Surely the White House will push for it. Senator Nelson says if there are material changes in the conference report, he will vote against it.
Did the last minute horse trading result in a better bill or just more pork for Louisiana and Nebraska ?
Senator Nelson praised Majority Leader Harry Reid calling his work "historic."
"The lives of millions of Americans will be improved," said Senator Nelson.
Time will tell.