History Made as House Passes Senate Bill: Health Care Reform Begins Now

It was the 219 votes that would go down in history. With the sound of a gavel on Sunday, the House passed the Senate health care reform bill, taking the first concrete steps on what will continue to be a long and tumultuous journey toward leveling the playing field and giving all Americans access to health care.

A minimum of 216 votes was needed to pass, with the final vote coming in at 219 to 212. As expected, not a single Republican voted in favor of the legislation that will be come law upon the President’s signature.

The controversial Senate bill, with its special concessions to states whose senators played serious hardball, is not only unpopular with Republicans, but with many Democrats who favored the more aggressive House bill that included a public option. Nevertheless, passage was necessary in order for any kind of health care reform to move forward. The reconciliation “fix it” bill was authored in order to address the problems with the Senate bill.

A major turning point came Sunday afternoon prior to the vote, when holdout Bart Stupak (D-MI) held a press conference announcing that he would cast a yes vote. This came after the White House announced plans to sign an executive order reinforcing that there will be no public funding for abortion through the bill. Anti-abortion members of the House wasted no time in predicting an unprecedented increase in abortion.

Delays, procedural questions, and warnings of dire consequences in the coming elections filled the afternoon and early evening as the House moved closer to the historical vote.

According to the Washington Post, Republican representatives took time during the day to stir up the anti-reform crowd outside. Members of Congress themselves waved signs and led the crowd in chanting “kill the bill.” Makes you wonder just who is leading who.

Harking back to Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” aimed at President Obama’s State of the Union address, from the Republican side “Baby killer!” was yelled at Bart Stupak, the anti-choice Democrat. How’s that for decorum? Shortly thereafter, a motion to recommit failed.

The reconciliation “fix-it” bill passed by a vote of 220 to 211 and will go to the Senate for passage in the coming days.

This is not armageddon. Despite all the scare tactics and warnings of monsters under the bed, at the end of the day, this is really about providing access to health care for millions of Americans who have none. It won’t come immediately or easily, but this is an important first step toward that goal. Many of the provisions included in the legislation, like the individual mandate and the availability of insurance exchanges, will not come into play until 2014.

President Obama addressed the nation shortly before midnight, saying “I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people, but it was the right vote… tonight’s vote is not a victory for any one party, it is a victory for common sense.”

Related reading on Care2

Anti-Reform Protesters Bully Peaceful Demonstrator with Parkinson’s

Health Care Bill Will CUT Deficit says Non Partisan CBO

Health Care: How is it not a moral issue?

President Obama Speaks to the House, King Harry to his Men

Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1158221

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Stefano M.
Stefano Mosi5 years ago

Change was needed, health care is a necessity for everybody.

Gabriel S.
Gabriel S.5 years ago


S R S.
Re S.5 years ago

I just might lose it if I hear one more person decry this health care plan as "socialist takeover." We have much less necessary social programs already in effect; this is hardly going to destroy the American identity as capitalists.

Victoria B.
Victoria B.5 years ago

I'm 56 yrs old and I'm on SS Disability. After working for 30 yrs., I had to stop due to failing health. Before I stopped working, it was not unusual for me to be in the hospital at least 2-3 times a year, I knew I had to buy a Medicare Advantage plan since my co-pays with Medicare would force me into bankruptcy again. For those who are unfamiliar, Medicare Advantage plans are subsidized with the Medicare premium of the recipient. You use this insurance in the place of Medicare. Medicare Supplemental insurance is a secondary insurance that picks up what Medicare does not pay. On the average, they run approx. $300 per month and most recipients cannot afford them. The first year of coverage, the premium for my Medicare Advantage plan was $9 monthly; the second yr, $35 monthly; the next yr $59 monthly. This is on top of my Medicare premium which is almost $100 monthly and my Part D insurance for prescription coverage is $71 monthly. My cost for medical insurance is approximately $230 monthly; this does not include my co-pays for my doctor visits, lab work, hospital stays, etc. So what this amounts to is over $300 a month just for medical expenses ON A FIXED INCOME!! And so the rest of the nation can have insurance, this new health bill allows for an increase in premiums for those of us with Medicare Advantage plans. I guess it won't matter how much they increase because without money to eat, I won't be around to pay them anyway!

Pa H.
P H.5 years ago


I would hardly say that your post exudes intelligence, or rationality.

Roger H.
.5 years ago

Jan B,
Even if the Stupak amendment would have been part of the health care bill that passed and became law, The types of abortions that you are referring to would have been covered and weren't excluded from even the House bill. Only elective abortions would have been excluded from using federal funding to pay for them as is the current law of the land. The executive order does not give any insurance company the right to refuse to terminate a pregnancy if the life of the mother or the fetus is in jeopardy or in the case of rape or incest. It only covers elective abortions. The bill, however doesn't take away the right of a health care provider to refuse to provide abortions.
You and others seem to be confusing health care insurance coverage with health care treatment. The bill that was passed was about health care insurance coverage, not health care treatment by health care providers. These are two totally separate issues.

Jill P.
Jill P.5 years ago

Here is the link to the article.
Obama and Congress are finishing the work that past presidents and congress started years ago.
Our demise.

Jill P.
Jill P.5 years ago

Read this article written by a nurse.
Diary of a Wimpy Health Care Bill
Care 2 is wrong. This is not history making. it is a disaster that will exaserbate the economically struggling country. The collapse of the USA is historical.

Debra Holliday
Debra Holliday5 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me that when someone doesn't have an intelligent answer to respond, they always revert to childish slandering. NOT paranoid or intimidated, but maybe you search it out.

Jesse C.
Jesse C.5 years ago