Health care bill passes, puts benefits in reach for millions of people

house passes health care reform
house passes health care reform

House Democrats passed the Senate version of the health care reform bill after hours of debate and politicking. It took about 9 1/2 hours to get to the crucial vote that passed health care reform at 10:46 p.m. ET by a vote of 219 to 212. All the Republicans and 34 Democrats voted against the bill.

The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for signature, possibly as early as Monday. When signed, about 32 million Americans who now don't have health care insurance will have improved chances of getting covered.

Next the house passed changes to fix the problems with the Senate bill. This reconciliation bill will then go to the Senate, where Senate leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he has the 51 votes needed to pass the legislation. Debate on this reconciliation bill will likely begin on Tuesday in the Senate and last a few days. How long will depend on how many delay tactics and amendments the Republicans attempt to pass. If any changes are made to the reconciliation bill, it will need to go back to the House.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) opened the "historic" health care debate on the floor of the House of Representatives, saying that "America is on an unsustainable course" and we need to do something before "another family falls into bankruptcy because someone had the misfortune to get sick." It will mean "more control for consumers than health insurance companies." Coverage will reach 95% of all Americans who will be able to buy health insurance in a "competitive, transparent marketplace."

Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) opened the debate for the Republications saying, "the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." He called the mandates on the states and on individuals "unconstitutional" and announced that 39 states will join in a lawsuit to question the constitutionality of the bill. A court case on constitutionality will likely make it to the Supreme Court. Deal is resigning from the House to run for Governor of Georgia.