House Passes Historic Health Care Bill 11.09.09
The House of Representatives passed a historic bill on health care Saturday which is the first step toward the U.S. joining all other industrialized nations in having government supported universal health care. It was close, 220 to 215, with most Republicans and some conservative Democrats holding out. Still, the chamber was said to be filled with shouts of joy and celebration.
The bill, "H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act," was badly battered by conservatives, but doesn’t represent the monster many health care supporters feared. Still, the bill does preclude spending government money on abortion and the public option was damaged. Some elements favor private insurance companies.
The bill requires everyone to get health insurance, but helps those who can’t afford it. It also prevents insurance companies from refusing to insure people with pre-existing conditions. It also creates a market for insurance; one will be a public option. It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans.
Rep. John Dingell, who has introduced health care insurance reform every year since 1955 said of the bill: "It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it."
Republicans had a different take. House Republican Leader John Boehner (R- Ohio) said:
"I came here to renew the American Dream, so my kids and their kids have the same opportunities I had. I came here to fight big-government monstrosities like this bill that dim the light of freedom and diminish opportunity for future generations."
Boehner didn’t explain how providing health care to poor people could "dim" freedom. Boehner supported America’s recent wars in the Middle East, maybe wasting money on sick people in America steals money from such efforts abroad. For example, it was recently revealed that the US spends between $400 and $1000 dollars a gallon for fuel in Afghanistan. The Marines alone are reputed to use about 800,000 gallons a day; that must somehow make Congressman Boehner’s idea of "freedom" shine.
President Barack Obama, who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for not being George W. Bush, said the legislation was "historic". The job is only partly done; a similar bill must now pass the senate, but the President was very optimistic this could be accomplished.
Read the bill HERE