After successfully including a provision that could be worth more than $100 million in federal aid to shore up a Medicaid shortfall, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu joined fellow Democrats Saturday in voting to begin full debate on major health care legislation in the Senate. Louisiana’s Medicaid program will be cut in 2011 because the state’s per capita income increased temporarily in the post-Katrina construction boom, and those numbers were used to determine how much federal money the state will get for Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor. The health care reform issue is expected to be hotly debated at least through the end of the year. The New York Times reported Saturday: 
Two reluctant Democratic senators, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, warned that their support for a motion to open debate did not guarantee that they would ultimately vote for the bill. Their remarks echoed previous comments by several other senators, including Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut.
Those comments made clear that more horse-trading lies ahead and that major changes might be required if the bill is to be approved. And it suggested that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, who relied only on members aligned with his party to bring the bill to the floor, may yet have to sway one or more Republicans to his side to get the bill adopted.
Read the Times story here.

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