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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid