After fending off filibusters, the Senate set a 7 a.m. Christmas Eve vote on health care reform legislation. "This is a much weaker bill than I would have liked to see, and I hope very much it is improved in the conference committee," Senator Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday. "The choice is doing nothing and allowing tens of thousands of Americans to die every year because they lack health care, or passing a bill which, while not perfect, does expand health care insurance for 31 million Americans, ends the odious practice of denying care for people with pre-existing conditions and, by expanding health centers, provides 25 million more Americans with primary health care and low-cost prescription drugs." The Senate bill includes $10 billion to provide primary health care to 25 million more Americans in 10,000 more communities. Federally Qualified Health Centers provide doctors, dentists, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs on a sliding scale basis.
Sanders said the dramatic increase will revolutionize primary health care in America.
Behind the scenes, David Reynolds, the senator's senior health care advisor, helped craft the legislation. David started Vermont's first community health center in the Northeast Kingdom 35 years ago, according to an article in Congressional Quarterly. "Tales of crankiness abound on Capitol Hill as Christmas Eve approaches and the Senate remains in session, but Senate staffer David Reynolds was practically giddy with good cheer...because the Senate appears to be on the verge of voting to approve a dramatic expansion of community health centers - which could bring badly needed health services to thousands of medically underserved communities across the United States over the next several years," the article began.
To read more about health centers and David, click here.