In a 220-215 close vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion health insurance reform package that will require mandatory health insurance for everyone with federal subsidies for those who cannot afford it.
A deal to restrict abortion funding and coverage was key to swinging certain Democrats. Federal subsidies for abortion coverage would be restricted from any government plan, except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother was in danger. Abortion coverage would not be allowed in any private plan that receives federal funding.
Here's the vote summary:
Voting YES - 219 Democrats, 1 Republican
Voting NO - 176 Republicans, 39 Democrats
The U.S. Senate will next debate the bill, but here's some of the issues in the House version:
* 96% of Americans would be covered
* Health insurance would be mandatory
* Pre-existing conditions would not matter
* Health insurance companies would lose antitrust exemptions
* Government or "public option" would be available
* Massive regulation of health care
And, how does this supposedly get paid for? The bill depends on $400 billion in Medicare savings (i.e. cuts) and placing a 5.4% tax surcharge on any individual making over $500,000 or a family making over $1 million.
The Senate version is $900 billion and does not require employers to provide health insurance, uses various taxes and fees and the "public option" is still a controversial question.
Many say the Senate is unlikely to approve the House version.