US House of Representatives passes universal health
The United States House of Representatives has passed The Affordable Health Care for America Act or HR 3962, a bill which would ensure that 95–96% of US citizens receive affordable health care.
HR 3962 was passed with 220 yeas and 215 nays. Democrats in the house needed at least 218 votes to pass the bill. 39 Democrats voted against the bill, which contained the Stupak amendment. This amendment curtailed women’s abortion rights. One Republican, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill.
The US Senate has drafted their own health care bill, S. 1679. It is not yet known when the Senate will vote on their version of the bill, but in the end both versions must be merged into one with both the House and Senate voting again.
The health care program associated with HR 3962 is estimated to cost over US$1 trillion over ten years, according to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who states that it will result in “[…] not one dime added to the deficit.”
US President Barack Obama says that he is “confident” that the Senate will be able to come to an agreement and pass a completed bill. Obama added that he hopes to sign a “comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year.”