Healthcare Reform Passes Promising Affordable Health Insurance
After the heated and emotional debates, healthcare reform was passed Sunday night promising affordable health insurance to 32,000,000 million more people.
"We'll be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare and now tonight health care for all," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of The House of Representatives just before the vote. The members voted 219 to 212 late Sunday night to approve a sweeping overhaul of the health insurance industry after more than a year of planning. The vote represents a historic victory for Democrats, who have promised for decades to extend health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not have it. All Republicans and 34 Democrats voted against the bill.
Late Sunday night Obama made a statement from the White House. He praised the passage of his signature domestic priority, saying, it was "a victory for the American people" that, while it might not "solve every problem" in the healthcare system, "moves us in the right direction."
Obama also stated, "It's time to bring this debate to a close and begin the hard work of implementing this reform properly on behalf of the American people. This year, and in years to come, we have a solemn responsibility to do it right.”
Republicans plan on using "a series of amendments on the substance of the bill" that will highlight "the massive Medicare cuts, the massive tax increases, and other deficiencies that we think are the reason the American people are against this bill," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The legislation will prevent insurance companies from dropping or denying coverage based on a customer's medical history. It will also require every American to purchase health insurance and will penalize large businesses that do not provide insurance for their employees. By 2014, individuals will be able to shop for insurance on new health care exchanges, and will be subsidized by the government if they cannot afford it.
To pay for the reforms and expansion, the bill will increase fees on pharmaceuticals and medical devices; tax expensive insurance policies beginning in 2018; and expand Medicare payroll taxes to investment income. Despite the bill's $940 billion, 10-year price tag, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion in the next ten years, and by $1.2 trillion during the following ten years.
For Republicans looking to stop health care reform from passing the House at that point, there was little they could do but speak out against the bill and wait for the 2010 elections, which they believe will be a referendum on a bill they say Americans don't want.