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Healthcare reform would lower deficit by $130 billion over 10 years

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At the same time, House Democratic leaders are ramping up procedures that will give members cover from having to take a direct vote on legislation that many see as flawed.

Several key Democrats representing views across the caucus announced support for the package this week – even before seeing the package of “fixes” or the scorecard by the CBO.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio on Wednesday moved from a solid no to a pledged yes vote, after a trip to his district with President Obama on Air Force One.

“I know I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but the bill as it is,” he said in a Wednesday-morning announcement. Representative Kucinich, one of 39 Democrats who voted against the House version of healthcare reform on Nov. 7, 2009, says that he still favors a single-payer system but also recognizes the “transformational potential” of the Obama presidency.

“I have taken a detour through supporting this bill, but I know the destination I will continue to lead, for as long as it takes, whatever it takes, to an America where healthcare will be firmly established as a civil right,” he added.

Democratic leaders are also focused on ensuring that the 42 yes votes from social conservatives in November don’t flip to no because the language banning the funding of abortions is weaker than it was in the House version. Some dozen Democrats could break with leaders on this issue, Rep. Bart Stupak (D) of Michigan has said.

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