Monday, March 22, 2010

This Is What Change Looks Like: House Passes Health Care Bill

History continues to be made by the Obama administration: By a vote of 219 to 212, the House passed a health care bill that that will provide medical coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans. (Full details at the NY Times)  

219 Democrats and 0 Republicans voted yes.

The costs of the plan, according to the budget office, would be more than offset by savings in Medicare and by new taxes and fees, mostly on the wealthy. The bill would reduce the federal budget deficits by $143 billion in the next 10 years. A fix incorporating changes now goes to the Senate.

The Christian Science Monitor has a primer on the details here.  It's important to note that many of the major provisions won't start until 2014, such as the requirement for most Americans to buy coverage, which will be subsidized for many (those earning under $88,000/year). But some provisions will start right away (or very soon): Health insurers won't be able to deny coverage to children with medical problems or suddenly drop coverage for people who become ill. Small businesses will obtain tax credits to help them buy insurance. Adults with pre-existing health conditions will be able to enroll in a new (temporary) national high-risk insurance plan.

Republicans say the American people don't want this bill. But most likely, in a very short time, Americans won't know how we ever managed without it. 

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