As most of you know, Medical Justice has been watching the health care reform act’s progress closely. What played out was a bit like a soap opera, full of melodramatic statements. It was very informative, and demonstrated why the Democrats pushed this through procedurally.
Finally, debates were done, and it was time to vote.
The Democrats were slightly divided. Republicans all voted along party lines. By 10:45 pm, EST, the U.S. House of Representatives had enough votes to pass the bill. Two minutes later, the final tally showed 219 Democrats in favor, 34 opposed. The Republican vote was 176 against, with 2 abstaining. The final tally was 219 in favor, 212 against. The House had confirmed the Senate’s Heath Care Reform Act of 2010. This vote makes the Senate’s act law, subject to the President’s signature, which is expected in the first few days of this week.
Finally, the electronic vote for Reconciliation (HR 4872) came up. Fifteen minutes were allowed for this vote, but it passed in half that time, with 217 in favor, 31 Democrats opposed, and 5 not yet voting by 11:30 pm. The final vote was 178 Republicans all opposed, 220 Democrats in favor, 33 opposed. The Reconciliation bill passed with a final total of 220 in favor, 211 opposed. It now goes to the Senate, where Harry Reid has stated that he is certain that he has the votes necessary to pass it and present it to President Obama for his signature during this coming week.
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, retook the chair to announce the passing of Health Care Reform Reconciliation. Shortly after that, the GOP’s Nathan Beil of Georgia, announced his resignation. This left a 5th seat vacant in the House.
After the bill passed, President Obama spoke briefly to the people of the United States from the White House. He stated that, for most Americans, this has not been about Democrats or Republicans, but about health care. He declared that it was not a victory of political parties, but for the American people. He acknowledged that the bill was not perfect, that it didn’t address all of the concerns or needs, saying that it “will not fix everything that’s wrong, but will move us in the right direction.” In a poignant moment, he said “This is what change looks like.”
In the days and weeks, months and years to come, we will discover just where this new law takes us. Regardless, it remains up to us to take personal responsibility for our own well-being, both personally and professionally. Medical Justice will continue to call for Tort Reform, to work hard for our members, to protect them against frivolous lawsuits, Internet defamation and unwarranted demands for refunds. We hope that you will join us in continuing to work towards providing patients with the best health care possible.