The passage is bittersweet, but finally it’s done … With 6:51 time remaining to vote, Democrats have secured the 218 “yea” votes needed to pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962).
Final tally 220-215; 39 Democrats voted “no.” One Republican — Rep. Joseph Cao, who represents the New Orleans area — voted “yea.”
“Democrats have sought for decades to provide universal health care, but not since the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid has a chamber of Congress approved such a vast expansion of coverage,” reports the Washington Post. “Action now shifts to the Senate, which could spend the rest of the year debating its version of the health-care overhaul. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to bring a measure to the floor before Thanksgiving, but legislation may not reach Obama’s desk before the new year.”
As I watched Democrats congratulate themselves, it was difficult to feel celebratory. Passage of the Stupak amendment — which bars a government-run insurance plan from offering abortion *and* prohibits women who receive government insurance subsidies from purchasing private plans that include abortion coverage — sucked a lot of the energy out of the room.
As Princeton professor Melissa Harris Lacewell said on Twitter, “Stupak feels like Prop 8 [which overturned same-sex marriage in California the same night President Obama was elected]. When the ‘win’ is accompanied by legislation that attacks the most marginal it doesn’t feel like a win.”
For a look at how each House member voted, check out this Washington Post graphic. You can sort the list by how much money each member has received in campaign contributions from the health industry and by the percent of people without health insurance in each district . The New York Times does a nice job of showing the geography of the vote (mouseover the states to reveal individual districts).
We close tonight with a reminder of what this bill provides — and the work still left to be done. Read Maggie Mahar’s in-depth post “Heath Care Reform — Looking at the Glass Half-Full.” The National Women’s Law Center breaks down what this bill means for women in every state.