Senate Approves Mikulski Amendment to Health Reform Bill
December 3, 2009
The first amendments to the Senate’s version of Healthcare reform came up for votes today. The first of these was an amendment by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) that would eliminate co-payments and deductibles for many preventative women’s health care services, such as cervical cancer screenings, mammograms, and screenings for domestic violence. After a rigorous debate, the Senate passed the amendment, 61-39 mostly along party lines. Three Republicans, Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME) and David Vitter (R-LA) joined all but two Democrat in voting in the affirmative. The Democratic dissenters were Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Russ Feingold (D-WI).
Immediately following this, the Senate rejected a similarly themed amendment by Senator Murkowski (R-AK) that would have left decisions about coverage of preventative services up to insurance companies by a vote of 41-59. Again the vote was mostly along party lines, with Senator Nelson (D-NE) joining all of the Republicans in voting for the amendment, while the remaining Democrats opposed it.