The bill would prohibit insurance abuse, provide penalties for employers and employees who don't buy health insurance and subsidies to make itÎ¾more affordable, and taxes to pay for the program.
"It will expand health care opportunity in districts like I represent. We have one of the highest in the country, of people who work that are uninsured."
That's Democratic Congressman Gene Green.
"This is one I worked on, because my goal is to have expansion of health care opportunities, in districts like I represent all across the country and, this is something that I think has been compared to in 1935 when Congress created Social Security, in 1965 when they created Medicare for our seniors, this is another milestone on the domestic side, our country is saying...hey, we can do better on providing health care for our citizens."
Green says the legislation includes significant consumer protections and improves Medicare benefits to seniors. As expected, the measure split theÎ¾vote along party lines, with one Republican lawmaker saying the only thing
bipartisan about the bill is the opposition.
"We all knew it would be close and Democrats have a 76-vote margin so, barely squeaking this out at the last moment, isn't really much of an achievement."
Another Republican representative, Kevin Brady of the Woodlands called it a terrible mistake.
"Bigger government doesn't mean better healthcare, but I am inspired and heartened by the tens of thousands of everyday Texans in my district, who stood up in the past year to make their voices heard, and to join with the new generation of Americans, who insist that Congress listen to them, or risk the consequences. And, to them I would say don't give up. This isn't over yet. Let's continue to fight this together, to challenge it at every turn, and when the time is right, to repeal it."
Brady agreed with other Republicans who said that Democrats disregarded the will of their constituents.
"I think that a lot of Americans expected others to stand up for their principles, not to abide by the threats, or the special deals, or whatever it took to get them to pass this bill."
The House adopted a reconciliation bill to amend the reform measure which will be debated by the Senate. How voters will react in November will depend on how well both parties frame health care reform.