Health Care Bill Passes
A victory for President Obama last night when the bill passed in the House with a 219-to-212 vote.
In a big victory for President Obama, the health care reform bill was passed in the House on Sunday night with a 219-to-212 vote. The bill, which has created a large divide between Democrats and Republicans, will provide medical coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and will offer some protection to those already insured.
After the legislation passed, Obama addressed the American people on the decision, referring to the occasion as an historic day. “In the end what this day represents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream,” he said. “Tonight, we answered the call of history as so many generations of Americans have before us. When faced with crisis, we did not shrink from our challenges. We overcame them. We did not avoid our responsibilities, we embraced it. We did not fear our future, we shaped it.”
However, Republicans believe the health care bill is not what the American people want, saying it will increase debt and weaken Medicare. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, said, “The American people are angry. This body moves forward against their will. Shame on us.”
“It’s one of the most offensive pieces of social engineering legislation in the history of the United States,” said Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina.
To gain the final few votes Democrats needed to pass the bill, an executive order was added, which made it clear that federal money from the bill can’t be used for abortions. Michigan Representative Bart Stupak, who heads a group of Democrats who oppose abortion rights, was pleased with the addition, saying the executive order would “protect the sanctity of life in health care reform.” His group’s votes helped to pass the bill.
The final step for this health care bill is for the Senate to act on the package of changes to the bill that was also approved by the House in a 220-to-211 vote last night. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, believes he has the votes to pass the changes, which will most likely be decided on this week. However, regardless of whether or not these changes go into effect, once President Obama signs the health care bill, it becomes law. (The New York Times)
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