Health Care Vote

On Saturday night, the US House of Representatives passed a historic health care bill. For the first time in our nation’s history, all Americans can potentially receive health benefits. But what happens now? Where does the bill go from here?

“Now that the house has completed action, it’s the senate’s turn to move forward with their action,” says Joe Courtney from Connecticut’s 2nd District.

On Saturday night, the House voted 220-215 in favor of the Affordable Health Care Act bill.

Courtney says “this is an issue that if you watched the debate, history tells us has stumped this country going back to Theodore Roosevelt.”

The Senate must now vote on its own version, which Courtney says is even more difficult:

“It could literally go on forever. So Harry Reid’s challenge is really to adapt by universal consent some structure to the debate.”

A bill passing through the Senate needs 60 votes. Although the Democrats have 60 members, Courtney says it can still be difficult.
“The fact of the matter is, as Harry Reid knows better than anyone, that each Senator acts as an independent operator and can sort of stray in lots of directions,” says Courtney.
“So far, we’ve gotten further then we’ve than we’ve ever gotten in American history.”

President Obama has made health care his priority domestic issue, and is pressing the Senate to pass a bill before Christmas. Although health care reform has passed the House, there is still a long way to go before the President signs it.
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is planning on beginning debates as early as next week. If health care reform is not signed by the end of the year, it could become a factor in the 2010 mid-term elections.