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Published November 23, 2009, 07:06 PM

Senator Kent Conrad Votes To Move Health Reform Proposal

On Saturday Senate Democrats got the 60 needed votes to advance health care legislation. North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan voted to move the health reform proposal to the floor.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

On Saturday Senate Democrats got the 60 needed votes to advance health care legislation. North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan voted to move the health reform proposal to the floor. The Senate voted 60-39 to begin this formal debate. It will begin after the Thanksgiving recess. Senator Kent Conrad says he expected the 60 votes that were enough to move forward with the health care reform bill. He says since Medicare will go broke in 8 years and premiums are rising three times as fast as wages, doing nothing wasn't an option.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "I think it would be really irresponsible not to begin a debate on health care because we're on a course that's unsustainable."

This vote doesn't mean the legislation has cleared the senate, but it does mean it will be debated on the Senate floor in coming weeks.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "That's not a final judgment on the bill. That's just the beginning of the process to be willing to debate."

The bill would cost almost $850 billion over ten years but insure over 30 million more Americans. Senator Conrad says the most important part of it is controlling sky-rocketing costs.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "This legislation is by my judgment completely in line with my record of being concerned a bout deficits and debt."

Conrad says it will reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion over the first ten years and $650 billion over the second ten years. He says it will help control costs by moving toward paying for quality outcomes.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "That's what all the experts say to us-to provide significant incentives for the systems that work: The Mayo Clinic model, the Cleveland Clinic."

Conrad says he expects the debate to last until around Christmas.

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