House Passes Historic Healthcare Reform Bill

11.09.09 | FL News Team

The U.S. House has passed an historic healthcare reform bill. After a day-long debate in an unusual Saturday session, the Democratic bill passed, 220-215. Only one Republican voted yes while 39 Democrats voted no. Earlier, President Obama went to Capitol Hill to push wavering Democrats to support the legislation, representing the biggest overhaul of the nation's healthcare system in more than 40 years. Healthcare reform is President Obama's top legislative priority. He urged Democrats to "answer to the call to history" and support the sweeping health insurance reform bill. Obama called this an historic opportunity to create a more secure, affordable and accessible healthcare system. The focus now shifts to the other side of the Capitol as Senate Democrats struggle to craft a healthcare bill that can get the 60 votes necessary to end Republican filibusters.

 The House bill includes provisions for a government-run "public option," designed to boost competition and curb soaring healthcare costs. It would bar health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. In the marathon House debate, Republicans argued the Democratic bill is too expensive and would lead to a government takeover of the U.S. healthcare system. The Democratic measure is estimated to cost around one-trillion dollars over ten years. A key amendment was attached which would prohibit federal funding for most abortions within health insurance reform. The amendment was a concession to pro-life Democrats to ensure their support for the overall legislation.