Monday, March 22, 2010

House passes Senate health care bill, 219-212

After securing the votes of a handful of pro-life Democrats, the House passed the Senate’s health insurance overhaul Sunday night by a margin of 219-212. Obama’s pledge to issue an executive order ensuring that federal dollars would not be used to fund abortion was enough to clench key votes from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other anti-abortion Democrats.

Immediately following passage of the original legislation, the House voted 220-211 in support of a reconciliation package which would fix particular provisions of the Senate bill opposed by many House Democrats. The newly passed bill is expected to be signed into law by the President as early as Tuesday, the same day the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the reconciliation fixes.

While Senate Democrats hope to pass the reconciliation package in its current form to avoid it being sent back to the House, members of the Senate must first review the bill with the parliamentarian to determine if all the provisions meet the constraint of relating to the budget—the intended purpose of reconciliation.

The health care debate will also continue in the courts, as attorney generals in Virginia, Florida and South Carolina have indicated they will bring litigation on the premise that the individual mandate in the new legislation violates the Constitution.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as we distill the details of this legislation to find out exactly what it means for you and your business.

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