Monday, November 9, 2009

Health care bill passes House in historic vote

WASHINGTON - -- The House of Representatives late Saturday approved the most sweeping health care legislation in two generations, advancing President Barack Obama's campaign to guarantee health coverage to almost all Americans.

The legislation was passed 220-215 shortly after House members added a provision that prohibits federally subsidized insurance plans from offering abortion services.

The House plan would cover an additional 36 million people by 2019, leaving 4 percent of the nation without coverage, compared with the estimated 17 percent who do not have insurance now, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."

For generations, the American people have called for affordable, quality health care for their families. Today, the call will be answered," said Pelosi, who rallied her members after weeks of cajoling and dealmaking.

We'll see how much is left of the bill after the Senate gets through with it.


  1. Fascinating lone vote from the Republicans,

  2. The bill includes some bizarre anti-abortion language that seems a terrible blow to women's rights. This country is definitely more divided than ever.

    Move on is apparently going to advertise against the Democrats who voted against the bill. I can understand the instinct to be fiscally prudent, given the mess we're in, but I don't know how they can live with themselves denying basic health care to Americans. I hope they all go down in primaries.

  3. The Blue Dogs are so hell bent against the public option that they will go against their own party on the bill. I worry about the Senate, where there is much less margin unless Reid decides to push through the vote by simple majority which no doubt will ruffle many feathers.

    I'm not that disconcerted about the abortion provision being removed as I don't think we need this kind of emotional issue in a national health care bill. It was bad enough the fierce rhetoric that emerged over the living will provision.

  4. Was it removed? I thought it was in there -- which is, I agree, inappropriate. I saw two House members debate this issue last week and they both agreed that this is not the time or place to make this a vote on abortion rights.

    I think the hope is that it will be removed in the Senate. But I have little faith in the Senate given what we've seen so far.

    Wonder if Obama can do his magic there.

  5. As I understood, av, the House remove the abortion provision to get the votes they needed.

  6. The issue here is that what was added apparently makes it illegal to include abortion coverage in health insurance coverage -- which is a big restriction for those who want access to that option. But then a lot of policies also don't cover birth control either. It's weird when you think about it, but then that's the way this country thinks (moralizing with insurance policies). In any event, I think we are talking about the same thing, just referring to it differently:

    A restriction on abortion coverage, added late Saturday to the health care bill passed by the House, has energized abortion opponents with their biggest victory in years — emboldening them for a pitched battle in the Senate.

    The provision would block the use of federal subsidies for insurance that covers elective abortions. Advocates on both sides are calling Saturday’s vote the biggest turning point in the battle over the procedure since the ban on so-called partial birth abortions six years ago.

    Both sides credited a forceful lobbying effort by Roman Catholic bishops with the success of the provision, inserted in the bill under pressure from conservative Democrats.

    The provision would apply only to insurance policies purchased with the federal subsidies that the health legislation would create to help low- and middle-income people, and to policies sold by a government-run insurance plan that would be created by the legislation.

    Abortion rights advocates charged Sunday that the provision threatened to deprive women of abortion coverage because insurers would drop the procedure from their plans in order to sell them in the newly expanded market of people receiving subsidies. The subsidized market would be large because anyone earning less than $88,000 for a family of four — four times the poverty level — would be eligible for a subsidy under the House bill. Women who received subsidies or public insurance could still pay out of pocket for the procedure. Or they could buy separate insurance riders to cover abortion, though some evidence suggests few would, in part because unwanted pregnancies are by their nature unexpected.

  7. Obama called this vote ''courageous'' but did not fully explain why he viewed it that way.

    The fact is that the Democrats in their August, 2008 platform specifically said that health care reform would be their top priority. Despite this pledge, many in their ranks have balked so that we now have a virtual stalemate in the effort to bring about that change.

    Many independent voters (myself included) went along with the Dems last November because of the pledge for health care reform. If it is not brought about then we have been betrayed and it will force to go to another party or refrain from voting altogether.

  8. I should have said ''force many independents'' to ...