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Posts Tagged ‘senator edward kennedy’

Health Reform: Feeling Better Already

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

“. . . what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.” —Senator Edward M. Kennedy to President Obama

“We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get health care reform passed.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, press conference, Jan. 28

We’re almost there. Last night the House of Representatives voted 219–212 for the health care reform legislation that was passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve, along with a separate, amending bill of “fixes” to fine-tune the Senate bill. President Obama will sign the House-approved Senate bill tomorrow, and the Senate, we hope, will soon pass the “fixes” without a single word changed, via budget reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority (at least 51 votes). (Reconciliation process explained here.) Even without the fixes, however, with the president’s signature the Senate+House bill becomes the law of the land. (Click here to see 11 hours of debate distilled into 10 minutes of hi-lites and lo-lites.)

The House’s amendments would cover 32 million of the uninsured by 2019 (the Senate’s would cover 31 million), and would cut deficits by $138 billion over the first 10 years ($118 billion under the Senate bill) and by over $1 trillion in the following decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The House bill would also increase the subsidies to help low- and middle-income people afford health insurance and would do more to close the so-called donut hole, the gap in Medicare coverage for prescription drugs. For an additional fee, parents will be able to be able to keep adult dependent children on their health insurance plans up to the age of 26—great news for young people having trouble finding a job.