It’s Over Without ‘Armaggedon,’ House Passes Final Healthcare Bill Fix

March 26, 2010

(Chattahbox)—The House of Representatives passed the final piece of the healthcare reform bill late Thursday night in a vote of 220 to 207, with all Republicans voting no. The budget reconciliation bill, with two minor points of order changes forced by Republicans in the Senate, will now go to President Obama for his signature, marking the end to a contentious debate over the role the federal government should play in ensuring Americans receive affordable and quality healthcare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is already the law of the land, and the reconciliation package of changes will soon be as well, which among other fixes, closes the doughnut hole gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Earlier in the day, the senate passed the revised reconciliation bill of fixes in in a final vote of 56 to 43, with all Republicans opposed to the measure. In a news conference held after the exhausting vote, in which the Democratic caucus was forced to hold off dozens of fruitless Republican amendments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hailed the bill as “a bill of rights” for all Americans.

“The American people have waited for this moment for a century,” said Reid. “This, of course, was a health bill. But it is also a jobs bill, an economic recovery bill, was a deficit-reduction bill, was an antidiscrimination bill. It was truly a bill of rights. And now it is the law of the land.”

Although the two Republican points of order succeeded in striking two lines from the student loan portion of the reconciliation package, the stricken language will not affect Obama’s overhaul of the federal student loan programs, which expands Pell grants for millions of Americans.

Among the changes to the original bill in the reconciliation package of fixes:

“The reconciliation bill makes numerous revisions to many of the central provisions in the measure adopted by the Senate on Dec. 24, including changes in the levels of subsidies that will help moderate-income Americans afford private insurance, as well as changes to the increase in the Medicare payroll tax that will take effect in 2013 and help pay for the legislation.The bill also delays the start of a new tax on high-cost employer-sponsored insurance policies to 2018 and raises the thresholds at which policies are hit by the tax, reflecting a deal struck by the White House and organized labor leaders. It also includes changes to close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the doughnut hole, and to clarify a provision requiring insurers to allow adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance policies until their 26th birthday.”

Although Republicans are pledging to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, once President Obama signs the final reconciliation package into law, the country should hopefully see a lessening of the hysterical “Armageddon” anti-healthcare rhetoric, as the White House moves forward with the rest of his domestic agenda.

Source: The New York Times


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