Utah senators: Battle isn't over for health care reform

Utah senators: Battle isn't over for health care reform

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WASHINGTON D.C. -- An $871 billion health care reform bill passed the U.S. Senate by a 60-39 vote early Thursday morning. No Republicans voted for it, including Utah's senators.

"What a horrible gift to deliver to the American taxpayer on this Christmas Eve," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said before the Senate's vote. "In a season when most families have cut back their own spending and, in many cases, cut up their own credit cards, the Senate majority is asking us to increase the nation's credit card limit so that they can continue to take on more debt to cover their voracious appetite for spending."

Hatch told KSL Newsradio Thursday morning that there are a lot of things Democrats and Republicans could have agreed on.

"It would have made a very good bill that would have lived within our means, that would push us down the road toward good health care and health reform," he said. "But it was an arrogance of power. They have 60 votes in the Senate. They figured they could do whatever they wanted."


Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, released a statement that said in part, "How can anyone label a bill that hikes up taxes, increases insurance premiums, slashes Medicare benefits and raises health care costs as a ‘victory?' In a desperate effort to make history, the Democratic leadership bought votes and made backroom deals that will be paid for by the taxpayer."

Both Utah senators say the battle isn't over. The Senate's bill must still be merged with legislation passed by the House before Pres. Obama could sign a final bill in the new year.

Bennett said, "As senators go home and feel the anger of their constituents, there is still a chance that at least one will change his or her mind."

President Barack Obama Thursday morning hailed Senate passage of the health care bill, saying the government is now "finally poised to deliver on the promise" of overhauling a troubled system. He says 95 percent of the House and Senate bills are the same.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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