U.S. House passes Senate version of health insurance reform bill

11:15, March 22, 2010      

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In a political two-step, U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday night passed the Senate version of health insurance reform bill. A vote on a "fix-it" bill that followed swiftly was also passed.

The House approved the bill in a 219 to 212 vote. All in favor of the bill are Democrats. All House Republicans opposed the bill. 34 Democrats voted "no." As the number of "yes" rises past 216, the number needed to pass the bill, House Democrats erupted in cheers.

The bill will expand government health plan for the poor, and cover some 32 million Americans who previously don't have coverage. It will impose new taxes on the rich and prohibit insurance companies from refusing cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

As the Senate already passed the bill, it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. According to the White House, Obama is to give remarks 10 to 15 minutes after the "fix-it" bill vote.

Before the "fix-it" bill vote, the House conducted a procedural vote to determine whether to go ahead with it, and cleared it.

The House convened a rare Sunday session in the afternoon, and the debate went well into the night. During the day, Democrats collected the support of a hold-out antiabortion group of Democratic lawmakers, after a deal was struck with the White House to ensure restriction on public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented.


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