(H.R. 3590, H.R. 4872) Legislation making major changes to the national health care system, including expanding health coverage to uninsured Americans -- On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments
This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to a major Senate-passed health care bill -- as well as a separate companion bill making changes to the Senate health measure.The Senate-passed bill imposed a requirement that most Americans have health insurance, added 15 million people to the Medicaid rolls, provided funding to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance coverage for low- and middle-income people, and prohibited insurance companies from refusing coverage because of “pre-existing conditions.” The Senate bill would also place a 40% tax on high-cost insurance plans -- or those plans that are worth more than $27,500 for families, and $10,200 for individuals. The bill was estimated to cover 31 million uninsured individuals. Under the bill, an estimated 95% of Americans would have health insurance.
The companion bill made a number of changes to the Senate legislation, including delaying the implementation of the tax on high-cost insurance plans until 2018. It would also expand coverage to 32 million people, one million more than the Senate-passed bill. The second bill was brought up by Democratic leaders under a process known as budget reconciliation. This process shields the bill from a filibuster in the Senate, allowing it to pass that chamber with a simple 51-vote majority.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) argued the health care legislation was historic and long overdue: " The effort to reform the health care system goes back to at least Theodore Roosevelt, that great President who campaigned in 1912 by promising: 'We pledge ourselves to work increasingly in State and Nation for protection of home life against the hazards of sickness…'" Slaughter also argued the bill had "the potential to transform the way that we deliver health care in the country." She accused Republicans of willfully misrepresenting the bill to the public saying: "The fight has been long and contentious, and the public has been grievously and purposefully lied to."
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) contended the bill would make health care more affordable while reducing the deficit: "We have the opportunity to enact real, meaningful health insurance reform that will improve the lives of millions of our fellow citizens. We can end the most abusive practices of the insurance companies. We can provide coverage to millions of hardworking families. We can bring down the cost of health care for families and small businesses. We can close the doughnut hole in Medicare and extend the solvency of that vital program, and we can pass the biggest deficit-reduction package in 25 years. All we need is the courage to do what is right."
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) argued: "…The simple truth is this health care bill is a killer. It kills over 5 million jobs in future job creation with $52 billion in mandates and taxes. It kills economic freedom and the American entrepreneurial spirit. It kills the family budget with over $17 billion in more mandates and taxes primarily aimed at the poor and its seniors. It kills our future by allowing taxpayer-funded abortions. Make no mistake about it. If you vote for this bill, you can never call yourself pro-life again."
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) argued the bill "represents one of the most offensive pieces of social engineering legislation in the history of the United States, and the American people recognize this simple truth. Even the ruling Democrats recognize how unpopular this proposal is but have chosen to ignore the overwhelming outcry and convince their wavering colleagues that the government and politicians in Washington, D.C., know better than their constituents. What arrogance."
The House agreed to the resolution by a vote of 224-206. 224 Democrats – including all of the most progressive members-- voted "yea." All 178 Republicans present and 28 Democrats voted "nay." As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on a Senate-passed bill making major changes to the national health care system -- as well as a bill to make a number of changes to the Senate-passed measure (including delaying the implementation of the tax on high-cost insurance plans until 2018).