Historic Health Reform Bill Passes House

Late Saturday evening, November 7, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, HR 3962, by a vote of 220-215.   This vote presents the largest step for major health insurance reform since Medicare was passed into law in 1965.  Adding significance to this moment, Representative John Dingell (D-MI), Dean of the House, presided over the body during its consideration of the rule this morning.  The last time Rep. Dingell presided over the House was when he gaveled the passage of Medicare 44 years ago.

The text of HR 3962, along with its Manager’s Amendments, may be viewed here:

Afforable Health Care for America Act

Manager’s Amendments

Modification to Manager’s Amendments

The day-long debate was followed by four votes on the bill.  Those votes proceeded as follows:

Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) offered an amendment to bar federal funding of abortion services offered in a public insurance option.  The amendment was adopted by a vote of 240-194-1.

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), the House Minority Leader, offered an alternative proposal for health reform, referred to as the Republican substitute.  The amendment failed, largely along party lines, by a vote of 176-258.

Next, Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) offered a motion to recommit the bill.  Rep. Cantor objected to the bill and asked that it be sent back for changes.  Objections raised were largely over medical liability reform provisions and Medicare Advantage provisions.  The motion to recommit failed by a vote of 187-247.

Lastly, HR 3962 was brought up for a vote.  It passed 220-215.  One Republican, Representative Joseph Cao (R-LA), joined a majority of Democrats in supporting the bill.

Next action will be taken by the United States Senate.