News / USA

US Lawmakers React to Historic Health Care Vote

Cindy Saine

A day after the House of Representatives passed sweeping health-care reform legislation, President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats are basking in the glow of a landmark political victory.  Republicans have maintained a solid front of opposition to the health-care reform bill, and are now vowing to work to repeal it, if it becomes law.  

One of the more emotional reactions to passage of health-care reform legislation came from the son of the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, who made universal health care for all Americans the cause of his life.  

Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island told ABC news his father would have been proud of President Obama.

"I salute President Obama," said Patrick Kennedy. "He has been the president, and even more, than my father could have ever imagined."

Late Sunday, the House passed the Senate version of the bill and a companion measure that would make some changes to the Senate version.  President Obama is expected to sign the House version into law Tuesday, and then the Senate will then take up the corrections package, which can be passed by a simple 51-vote majority.  That vote is expected later this week.

But even though the bill is not yet through the Senate, prominent Republicans wasted no time in saying they will fight to repeal it if is passed.

Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina introduced a bill early Monday calling for repeal of the bill, calling it an "arrogant power grab."

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, who ran unsuccessfully against Barack Obama for the White House in 2008, told ABC news that Republicans would use the health care issue against Democrats in the November congressional elections.

"The American people are very angry," said John McCain. "And they do not like it and we are going to try to repeal this, and we are going to have a very spirited campaign coming up between now and November and there will be a very heavy price to pay for it."

Speaking last night after the bill passed, President Obama said Americans will soon realize that Republicans' claims that the bill will lead to "socialized medicine" are not true, and reminded them that he has delivered on his campaign promise of bringing "change" to the country.

"So this is not radical reform," said President Obama. "But it is major reform.  This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system.  But it moves us decisively in the right direction.  This is what change looks like."

The final version of health care reform will cost $940 billion over 10 years, and will extend health insurance to about 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured.  

Starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny health-insurance coverage to anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, starting this year they will not be able to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.  

The uninsured and self-employed will be able to purchase health insurance through state-based exchanges, with subsidies available to those unable to pay.

During the sometimes raucous debate ahead of last night's votes, Republican lawmakers again and again characterized the Democratic legislation as a government takeover of health care, and said the American people oppose it.  Republican Representative Dave Camp of Michigan put it like this:

"The American people have spoken," said Dave Camp. "They do not want the tentacles of the federal government reaching into their lives and controlling their personal health care decisions.  Yet that is exactly what will happen under the Democrats' health-care bill."

Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia said it is time to make quality health care a right for all Americans and not a privilege.

"There are those who have told us to wait, they have told us to be patient," said John Lewis. "We cannot wait, we cannot be patient.  The American people need health care, and they need it now."

Opinion polls show that Americans are sharply divided over the Democratic push for health-care reform.  The next weeks and months will tell whether Republican predictions that the huge legislative victory for Democrats will turn out be a political liability in the upcoming fall Congressional elections.   

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs