The biggest health care overhaul in nearly half a century has become a reality. The House of Representatives passed the long overdue health care reform legislation late at night on Sunday, March 21st, by a vote of 219-212. President Obama signed the bill into law two days later. The President campaigned on this issue across the country in 2008. In fact, it was one of the top issues during the presidential campaign. There has been strong opposition to the reform efforts and things got pretty rough before final passage occurred. While the bill is not perfect, it’s definitely a major step in the right direction.
While there are a number of important features in the bill, the key feature has to be that the overhaul gives an additional 32 million Americans access to basic health insurance by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This is the biggest change in the American health system since Medicare was enacted in 1965, and one that many thought would never happen. Many presidents tried for reform and all of them failed. President Obama refused to give up and won the battle against great odds.
Following House passage of the Senate bill, the House then passed a “reconciliation bill” to make needed adjustments to the Senate-defined package. The Senate took the bill up and sent it back to the House with two changes. Those changes were accepted by the House on March 25th. The President has signed the change bill into law.
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