Democrats Eye 6 p.m. Saturday Health Care Vote

Posted November 4, 2009 at 12:02pm

Updated: 4:39 p.m.House Democrats are planning a final vote on their signature health care bill Saturday at about 6 p.m., Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday.Slaughter clarified later that final votes could begin around 6 p.m. but may not necessarily be finished by then. She also said there would be five hours of debate on the measure.Slaughter, the co-chairwoman of the Pro-Choice Caucus, said the rule for the bill would add language proposed by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) aimed at beefing up a prohibition on federal funding for abortions. “None of us really had any objections to the Ellsworth language,— Slaughter said. The Ellsworth proposal would require private contractors to provide payments for abortions under the new national health exchange insurance plans, including the public insurance option. The bill already requires that funding for any abortion services come from premiums paid and not from any federal subsidy.Slaughter, meanwhile, said leadership was talking to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) about how to handle his substitute, which would create a single-payer health care system funded by a 14 percent payroll tax and a tax on millionaires. Leadership wants to avoid having his amendment ruled in order on the bill, she said.Slaughter had earlier said Weiner would get a vote because leadership promised him that he would get one during the markup of the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee.Slaughter has already ruled out giving into liberal demands for an amendment allowing a stronger public insurance option tied to Medicare rates.