Durbin: Health care reform needed by year's end

November 22, 2009 (CHICAGO) By that point, Durbin says, Pres. Barack Obama and Congress will need to focus on the economy and jobs.

Saturday night, the U.S. Senate voted 60-to-39 to begin the debate on health care reform. The legislation would extend coverage to 31 million Americans. A key sticking point is the plan to allow people to buy a federally run insurance plan, if their state allows it.

Republicans say the bill would cripple industry and drive up costs for the average American.

Democrats counter saying the bill will promote competition, lower costs, reduce debt, and improve quality of care.

"I hope, in the end, that some Republicans will cross over and help us to put together a good bill that will serve this nation. Last night, we didn't have a Republican vote. It was all Democrats, but we are going to move forward," Durbin said.

"The important thing is for the American people to understand is this bill doesn't fix what's wrong with health care," said Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. " We're treating symptoms, not the disease. And it's really malpractice what we're doing."

The U.S. Senate will begin debate on the bill after the Thanksgiving break.

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