Health care reform bill passes the U.S. House

Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After a year of bitter partisan battles in Washington, health reform is finally a done deal. The house passed a major overhaul of America's health care system Sunday that will give millions of Americans a chance to see a doctor.

A last-minute promise to reinforce the ban on federally-funded abortion got the votes for it to pass. With just three votes to spare, the house sends President Obama a sweeping health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32 million Americans.

"...enabling people to have freedom, a healthier life, the ability to pursue their own happiness," said Pelosi.

President Obama immediately claimed victory:

"This is what change looks like....this isn't radical reform, but it is major reform."

Every Republican - and 34 Democrats - voted against it.

"We have failed to listen to America," said House Minority Leader John Boehner. "And we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents....shame on us. Shame on this body. Shame on each and every one of you!"

The latest NBC poll showed Americans almost evenly split on this plan, which expands medicaid, taxes the wealthy, and bars insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

The cost: nearly a trillion dollars.

Every American will have to buy insurance. People who are self-employed or switch jobs can shop around for affordable coverage in state-based exchanges. Most of the major provisions don't kick in till 2014.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill in the next day or so, but the fight's not over. There's a vote this week on changes made to get the bill passed - Republicans are expected to put up a fight. And there's already an effort underway to repeal health care reform.

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