U.S. House Approves Historic Health Care Legislation & Passes Democratic Changes To Bill
On Sunday 3/21/2010 a divided House of Representatives (the lower house of the U.S. Congress) in the US approved historic health care legislation, and also immediately moved to separately pass a series of key White House prescribed changes to it. The changes were a prearranged agreement, in order to guarantee the passage of the historic legislation. The series of changes are to be sent back to the Senate (the upper house of Congress) for final approval, where it only requires a simple majority to pass.
The legislation aims to provide Americans with near universal health care. The total cost is expected to reach $940 billion. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, savings included in the legislation would eventually reduce the U.S. deficit by approximately $138 billion over the decade.
Most Americans would be required to purchase health insurance, or face penalties. Most of the money in the bill would be devoted to subsidies that would help families with incomes of up to $88,000 a year pay their premiums.
To pay for the changes, the legislation includes more than $400 billion in higher taxes over a decade, and cuts to more than $500 billion from planned payments to hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers that treat Medicare patients.
However, only time will tell how much the actual total cost will be, or how much taxes will be necessary in order to pay for the reform.
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