In a rare Saturday session, the Democratic-controlled House passed a comprehensive health bill by a vote of 220-215.
The minimum vote required in the House for passage is 218 votes. Thirty-nine Democrats voted no, and all but one newly-elected Republican voted no.
Had I been in the House, where I served for nine years (1969-1977), I would have voted yes.
I do not intend to go through all of the compromises made to get a majority vote for the bill. That was more than adequately discussed by the media and in the newspapers. Suffice it to say, the bill contains provisions that I do not agree with, one of which is that government subsidy money may not be used to secure insurance payments for abortions, except for life of the mother, and in cases of rape and incest.
Now the Senate will take up its universal healthcare bill which will undoubtedly differ from the House bill. Then it is on to a Senate House conference and a final vote in both Houses on the conference agreed-to legislation.
Were I in the Congress, without knowing what the conference bill will be, I would be voting for the bill so as to establish the principle of comprehensive health insurance. Then, along with similarly-minded colleagues, I would be planning on amending the legislation until we got it just right. That will be a struggle which will last, I’m sure, less than the 14 years projected by some in the military for the Afghan war to end and our troops brought home.
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