The Senate's version of the health care bill passed this morning with Florida's two senators casting divergent votes.
Bill Nelson voted in favor: "During these many months of debate over health-care reform, my goal has been to pass legislation to make coverage affordable and available to everyone. Regardless of where we stand on specifics, I think most can agree the system is broken and needs to be fixed. While the Senate bill I voted for isn't perfect, it has many good elements. It will prevent insurers from dropping the sick and stop them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. It also will reduce the deficit. And it includes one of my amendments to protect 800,000 seniors in Medicare HMOs all over Florida. Congress still has to merge this bill with the House version. And I’ve told negotiators I want them to close the "donut hole" gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage."
Nelson's amendment to grandfather Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in Florida has drawn criticism as one of the goodies ladled out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get the legislation passed. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote that Capitol Hill critics have dubbed it "Gator Aid."
But Politicfact notes that Florida seniors wouldn't be the only ones covered.