The bill coming out of Senate Finance is far from perfect, but they finished up last night with some key improvements adopted that mean some of the worst elements have been softened, and some of the worst Republican amendments were fought off. There's still some ugly there, though, for Harkin, Reid, and Baucus to deal with as the bills are merged, and when it eventually comes to the floor.
Probably the most significant improvement on affordability came last night when Schumer and Snowe successfully lowered the "Max Tax". The bill still has an individual mandate, but the penalties have been reduced.
Here's one of the uglier ones they passed, and in basic secrecy, that would give states increasing flexibility to drop Medicaid patients, starting next year.
They will meet sometime next week to vote on reporting the bill out. After that, assuming that Rockefeller, Cantwell, and Wyden feel their primary objections have been met and vote for it, it's on to the merging process, where hopefully Senator Harkin will be able to prevail on a strong public option.More details here.