House Passes Health Bill 220 to 215

At 10:59 pm Saturday evening, a 15-minute vote was called. Members of the House were then to vote yea or nay by electronic device. By 11:01 pm, the vote was 197 to 184 and moving quickly. The vote tally will not be final until the Speaker drops the gavel to close the vote. By 11:03 pm, 36 Democrats had voted against the measure, making the special Saturday vote a case of high legislative drama.

At 11:05, there remained fully 10 Democrats not having cast their vote, with rumors that one or two Republicans might also “defect” and join the Democratic majority in voting for passage. At 11:07 pm EST, the tally of yea votes reached 218, the threshold necessary to pass the comprehensive healthcare reform bill. The voting would remain open for 15 minutes, allowing for the possibility of a change in one or more votes.

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How to Solve Healthcare: Focus on Coverage, Cost & Cure

8 crucial ideas for solving the healthcare crisis

We don’t have a good answer for how to solve healthcare in America. Let’s start there. Every interest group sees the problem differently, depending on immediate interests, learned perceptions, or advertised distortions. But the fact is, every interest group has some overlap with others, and there is a lot of common ground to be had, if we put ideology aside and try to focus on the problem itself. The problem is severe enough that neary 50 million people are without healthcare coverage, and another many millions are underinsured, not guaranteed to have necessary treatments covered, for one reason or another.

Some blame malpractice insurance costs, some blame pharmaceutical drug costs, some blame malpractice lawsuits, some blame greedy insurers, greedy doctors, or stingy public-funding programs. And they are all right. But the one group that is not ripping anyone off and that has no interest in costs continuing to escalate, is the average patient. Others fall into the category of innocents, but we have to recognize that the average person has zero control over these egregious failings of the system and does not want to see them prolonged.

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