U.S. House passes health care reform bill

U.S. House passes health care reform bill

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by Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 21, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 22 at 10:07 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Democratic-controlled Congress has approved historic legislation extending health care to tens of millions of Americans who lack it and cracking down on insurance company abuses.

The vote in the House was 219-212. Republicans were unanimously opposed. Idaho's Representative Mike Simpson (R) and Representative Walt Minnick (D) both voted against the bill.

KTVB got this response from Representative Mike Simpson: "There is no doubt that this legislation will be challenged in court. 
Beyond the question of its legality, this bill will ultimately damage the health care system in the United States while adding another $2 to 3 trillion to our national debt.

"At this time, I encourage all Idahoans to support Governor Otter in his effort to challenge its constitutionality in court."

Congressman Walt Minnick broke with his party and voted against the health care reform.

After the vote -- Minnick sent us this statement: "I voted 'no' today because I was elected to listen to my constituents, seek the best possible information and use my best judgment to make the right decision for Idaho.

"It was a difficult vote because, like all Idahoans, I truly do care about improving the health-insurance system, about reducing costs and about improving care. But I voted against this bill because it is critical to the long-term fiscal health of the country that we not get this wrong."

The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The action late Sunday capped a yearlong quest by Obama and Democrats to overhaul the system and reshape a sixth of the economy.

The House also passed key changes to its overhaul of health care legislation. The changes are part of a prearranged agreement to guarantee passage of the historic legislation.

The changes passed by a 220-211 vote. That bill now goes to the Senate for final approval, where it only requires a simple majority to pass.

The fast-track measure eliminates targeted provisions for specific states in the main health care bill. It softens a tax on high-value insurance plans opposed by organized labor.

It also contains an education provision that is a domestic priority of President Barack Obama. That measure increases college assistance for needy students and ends government

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