This afternoon, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) openly challenged Sen. John Thune (R-SD)’s claim that the Senate health care bill does not offer benefits until 2014. “We are entitled to our own opinions; we are not entitled to our own facts,” Franken asserted. “Benefits kick in right away.” He concluded:
I stand here day after day after day and hear my colleagues, my good friends from the other side, say things that are not based on fact. […]
Senator Thune did say that none of the benefits started next year. He just, I guess, hasn’t read the bill. .. I do find that many of my colleagues who I’m very friendly with, haven’t read the bill and are not very familiar with it.
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The Senate health care bill spends $10 billion between 2011 and 2014 on interim benefits. Franken pointed out that the bill offers immediate insurance reforms for Americans purchasing coverage in the individual market and closes the donut hole in Medicare Part D.