Early this morning, the U.S. Senate held a pivotal vote; it successfully gathered the required 60 votes to end the debate and move forward to subsequent votes to pass major health reform from the Senate floor later this week. Both California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein joined all 60 Democratic and Independent Senators to vote for the motion; all 40 Republican Senators voted against it.
Next votes are planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, and final passage is planned for Thursday, December 24th.
After passage, the next step is negotiations between the House and Senate to reconcile the Senate bill with the House health reform measure passed in November. Negotiations will most likely go into January with the goal of having a final agreement and final vote in both the House and Senate by the end of January.
See the full text of the bill and the 380+ page “manager’s amendment” (contains several changes that allowed for the passing 60 votes this morning). This link also has a video clip of Senator Reid’s speech right before the 1 a.m. vote this morning.
A Health Access blog article has a good summary of some of changes in the “manager’s amendment.”
Related to a different aspect of the health reform debate, Kaiser Family Foundation recently held a live interview with key advocates in women’s and minority health and released a video on what health reform may mean for women of color.