House Passes Health-Care Bill

Wasn’t that easy? It only took months of negotiations, bitter debate, procedural technicalities, and last-minute deals for President Obama’s health-care bill, the would-be hallmark of his presidency, to pass. After heated debate on the House floor Sunday night, the bill passed by a slim majority of 219 to 212. As expected, no Republicans voted for the measure. When the 216th vote was counted, Democrats began cheering, clapping, and chanting “Yes we can” in the chamber. Soon after, Democrats passed the reconciliation bill with 220 votes, which will go back to the Senate for passage. The pendulum swung for good in the Democrats’ race to 216 votes Sunday morning when the White House struck a deal with anti-abortion House Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). Obama agreed to sign a somewhat controversial executive order preventing federal funding for abortions under the measure. Obama is expected to hold a ceremony this week to sign the bill into law. The bill will extend health-insurance to 32 million Americans and reduce Medicare spending in the future by about $500 billion.