Health care bill passes House; Minnesotans split 4-4

WASHINGTON — Cheers erupted on the House floor Sunday night as the vote count hit 216, the magic number of representatives needed to pass the Senate’s health care reform bill through the House. Later this week, President Obama will sign into law the largest single reform of the nation’s health care system since the creation of Medicare in 1965.

The final tally was 219 in favor to 212 against, with no Republicans voting in favor. As expected, Democrats Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Jim Oberstar and Tim Walz voted in favor of the bill, while Democrat Collin Peterson joined Republicans John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen in opposing the measure.

This bill isn’t perfect, advocates said. Ellison and McCollum wanted a public option (they still haven’t given up on that), while Oberstar and Walz held out until almost the bitter end in an effort to remedy geographic disparities in Medicare rates (the compromise they and McCollum signed on to wasn’t as good as they wanted, but was better than what they had).

“Tonight’s enormous,” Ellison said. “It’s up there with the civil rights bill, its up there with Medicare, it’s up there with Social Security. It will be part of the economic/social/political framework of America within five years, it will be how we live.”

A reconciliation bill containing “fixes” to the approved health care bill now heads to the Senate, where Republicans said they plan to raise a host of procedural objections to the bill’s applicability under budget reconciliation rules. Meanwhile in the House, Kline and Bachmann pledged to fight to repeal the legislation starting as soon as it’s signed.

“Today’s votes were a loss for the American people, but the battle is far from over,” Kline said in a statement following the vote. “We must now begin working to undo the government takeover of health care and replace it with meaningful reforms that will finally bring down health care costs.”

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 03/22/2010 - 06:47 am.

    It has always be a source of wonderment how such an enormous tax distortion (and redistribution) was allowed to continue for so long.

  2. Submitted by T J Simplot on 03/22/2010 - 07:58 am.

    If you want insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of their pre-existing conditions, you must have a requirement in place to ensure that everyone has insurance or face a significant penalty. The penalties being proposed are just not significant enough to prevent people from simply not carrying insurance until they need it.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/22/2010 - 09:29 am.

    Let it be noted that these United States of America just took a major step toward catching up to the levels of civilization long enjoyed in the rest of the Western World. (Who knows, with a few more major changes we may even catch up to them.)

    Let it also be noted that, at least for a few years, it seems likely that the forces working against civilization, the disciples of Ayn Rand (worshiping at the feet of a dysfunctional personality if there ever was one) who longed to turn our nation into a third-world fascist state with themselves standing at the pinnacle of wealth and power (probably aptly renamed Friedonia), will shriek and howl, then crawl back into the woodwork for a few years.

    Perhaps as they grieve their losses and take time to think instead of just scream, they’ll search and find the healing they need to see the value of civilization and begin to raise their children in a more civilized manner than their own parents raised them.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/22/2010 - 09:33 am.

    “penalties being proposed are just not significant enough to prevent people from simply not carrying insurance until they need it.”

    That may be true, but still, the Democrat legislature has just passed a law making it a *crime* not to buy the products offered by the corporation’s the left so viscerally hates….and yet, they are cheering.

    Just wait until some of these folks receive their first warning notice from Cigna;

    “Dear Mr. Lefty,

    We have not received your ObamaCare payment for the month of August. Accordingly your policy is now in default and you are in violation of federal law. We have notified the IRS.”

    Congratulations…you won.

  5. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 03/22/2010 - 10:02 am.

    Re:#4 , Under the old system, a lot of healthy younger people decided that premiums had risen so high that it wasn’t worth it for them to buy insurance. They figured they were better off taking their chances. In so doing, they were freeloading off of the rest of society.

    But healthy people who forgo insurance are playing the same game as “too big to fail” financial institutions: they know that ultimately, if they’re hit by a car, the hospital will have to treat them, and if they can’t pay the full cost, the rest of society will, through higher treatment costs and insurance premiums. They’re drawing the emergency-care benefits of the American health system, but they haven’t paid their dues. The new law fixes this by mandating that everyone buy insurance. If you can’t afford it, you’ll get subsidies to help. But it will no longer be possible for healthy people with adequate incomes to decide they’d rather spend that money on a nicer car, and let the rest of us pay for their care when they fall ill.

    I would think that this is a concept that most conservatives could support.

  6. Submitted by dan buechler on 03/22/2010 - 10:45 am.

    Derek and/or MinnPost staff, You got a great story in ND house reps. yes vote Pomeroy chase after it or include links to North Dakota.

  7. Submitted by Dave Kopesky on 03/22/2010 - 03:05 pm.

    I have already gotten a couple emails from out of town friends chastising me for some of the babble from “my Congresswoman” Michelle Bachmann about this. Fortunately she is not. Her uninformed comments and half-truths on this like so many other issues make her an embarrassment to anyone who likes informed but civil political discourse and debate. You can disagree without demonizing the opposition – so much for her claims to be a good Christian.

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