Senate Democrats move toward key vote - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Senate Democrats move toward key vote

WASHINGTON. - Senate Democratic leaders are looking ahead to a crucial test vote on health care amid indications the rank-and-file will stand together Saturday to give them the support they need.
     
Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said Friday that leaders weren't assuming anything and were working to bring the caucus together ahead of Saturday's vote to begin debate on their health overhaul bill.
     
Two of three moderate holdouts have indicated in recent days that they will vote with fellow Democrats on the procedural vote and Durbin said that the third, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, has informed Majority Leader Harry Reid how she plans to vote.
     
Durbin wouldn't disclose Lincoln's answer but Democrats are moving ahead with Saturday's vote.

San Francisco's city-run health care a model during national debate

San Francisco isn't waiting for Washington and that's got some lawmakers on Capitol Hill looking to the city as a model for national health care reform.
     
Health San Francisco is the nation's first city-run universal health care plan. While it's not insurance and not valid outside the city, most uninsured adults are already reaping the benefits of the two-year-old program.
     
It now covers more than two-thirds of those who previously had not insurance. It assigns patients to a health clinic, provides preventive exams and long-term care for chronic conditions such as diabetes.
     
About $20 million of the $126 million cost comes from employers who are required to contribute to their workers' health care. That aspect is the most controversial. The city's restaurant association has sued the city over the mandate, but Mayor Gavin Newsom describes the program as pragmatic, saying it saves money by keeping people out of the emergency room.

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