Sunday, November 08, 2009

Health Care Reform Passes in the House

Just a short time ago, the US House of Representatives passed their version of the health care bill.  From the NY Times, "Sweeping Health Care Plan Passes House"...

WASHINGTON — Handing President Obama a hard-fought victory, the House narrowly approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system on Saturday, advancing legislation that the Democrats said could be their defining social policy achievement.

After a daylong clash with Republicans over what has been a Democratic goal for decades, lawmakers voted 220 to 215 to approve a plan that would cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years and that Democrats said would provide relief to Americans struggling to buy or hold on to health insurance.

"This is our moment to revolutionize health care in this country," said Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and one of the chief architects of the bill.

Democrats were forced to make major concessions on insurance coverage for abortions to attract the final votes to secure passage, a wrenching compromise for the numerous abortion-rights advocates in their ranks. They hope to make changes to that amendment during negotiations with the Senate, which will now become the main battleground in the health care fight as Democrats there ready their own bill for what is likely to be extensive floor debate.

Democrats say the measure — paid for through new fees and taxes, along with cuts in Medicare — would extend coverage to 36 million people now without insurance and would create a government health insurance program. It would end insurance company practices like not covering pre-existing conditions or dropping people when they become ill.

The successful vote came after Mr. Obama traveled to Capitol Hill just before noon Saturday to make a personal appeal for lawmakers to "answer the call of history" and support the bill.

Only one Republican, Representative Anh Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill, and 39 Democrats opposed it...

Lawmakers credited Mr. Obama with converting a final few holdouts during his appearance at a closed-door meeting with Democrats just hours before the vote...

Mr. Obama made a rare weekend appearance on Capitol Hill as part of an all-out effort to rally Democrats to support the biggest health care legislation since the creation of Medicare for the elderly four decades ago.

During the private meeting with Democrats in the Cannon Caucus Room, the president acknowledged the political difficulty of supporting major legislation in the face of unanimous Republican opposition and tough criticism from conservatives.

But, those present said, he urged them on, saying, "When I sign this in the Rose Garden, each and every one of you will be able to look back and say, 'This was my finest moment in politics.'"

Now on to the Senate...

posted at 1:16:00 AM by Duane Tate

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