–House Approves Final Health Bill on 220 to 207 Vote
–Senate Passes Bill Earlier On 56 to 43 Vote
–Year-Long Health Care Debate Ends With Historic Laws

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – The House passed Thursday evening the health
care reconciliation bill which was approved hours earlier by the Senate.

The House passed the bill on a 220 to 207 vote, sending it to
President Obama for his signature.

The House vote was the culmination of a year-long effort by Obama
and the Democratic leaders in Congress to pass comprehensive health care

Earlier in the day, the Senate approved the reconciliation bill on
a 56 to 43 vote.

The reconciliation bill makes a number of adjustments to the
comprehensive health care bill that President Obama signed Tuesday.

The Senate debated the reconciliation bill which the House passed
Sunday for several days. Democrats defeated all Republican attempts to
amend the bill.

However, a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian removed two
education provisions from the package, thus requiring the House to
revote on the bill.

The two health care bills–the underlying bill that was signed into
law Tuesday and the reconciliation bill approved Thursday–extend health
insurance to about 32 million people who now don’t have it, about 95% of
the population. They create state-based exchanges where individuals
without employer-provided health care could buy insurance. Federal
subsidies would be available to help cover the cost for low income

The bills cost about $940 billion over a decade. According to a
preliminary assessment by the Congressional Budget Office it would cut
the deficit by $143 billion over a decade and $1.3 trillion over the
second ten years.

The packages are largely paid for by savings from Medicare and a
host of taxes and fees, including an excise tax on high cost health
insurance programs and an increase in the Medicare payroll tax for
individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than

Congress begins a two week spring recess Friday. When lawmakers
return, financial regulatory reform is expected to be one of the top
issues on the agenda.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

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