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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs