Sunday, March 21, 2010

Houses passes historic health care bill

Charles Dharapak / AP

Houses passes historic health care bill
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, March 21, 2010

After a year of political upheaval that swung from a triumphant Democratic sweep in Washington to the rise of the Tea Party movement, Congress on Sunday night sent to President Obama the most sweeping social program since Medicare was enacted in 1965.

The vote on the health care overhaul was 219-212, with not a single Republican supporting the measure.

Before the final debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco locked arms with her Democratic lieutenants, including civil rights veteran John Lewis, D-Ga., to enter the Capitol through a phalanx of angry protesters. It was an emphatic show of solidarity after several ugly incidents on Saturday when demonstrators hurled racial slurs at several African American members of Congress and anti-gay insults at Rep. Barney Frank, the openly gay Massachusetts Democrat.

"We will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare and now, tonight, health care for all Americans," Pelosi told House members as she brought the debate to a close at 10:30 p.m. She invoked the memory of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose death so complicated passage of reform, saying health care "is the unfinished business of our society, that is, until today."

The health deal was sealed by early afternoon Sunday when anti-abortion Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., secured an executive order by the White House that would reaffirm the long-standing Hyde Amendment banning taxpayer funding of abortions...

Obama secures landmark healthcare victory

John Whitesides and Donna Smith
Mar 22, 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama secured a landmark victory with the House of Representatives giving final approval to a sweeping healthcare overhaul, expanding insurance coverage to nearly all Americans.

...The health insurance industry vigorously opposed the overhaul. Insurance stocks rallied late last week as investors began to realize their worst fears had not materialized.

The overhaul will extend health coverage to 32 million Americans, expand the government health plan for the poor, impose new taxes on the wealthy and bar insurance practices such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions...

Mar 22, 2010
Mitt Romney's healthcare hypocrisy and the GOP base
Just four years ago, conservatives saluted him for signing a healthcare law that's very similar to ObamaCare
By Steve Kornacki
AP/Cliff Owen
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in February.

It’s not news when man bites dog, so why should it be any different when Mitt Romney makes a brash and insincere pronouncement?

And yet there was the one-time Massachusetts governor forcing his way into Monday morning’s headlines with what may have been the most over-the-top of all of the over-the-top Republican reactions to the House’s passage of Barack Obama’s healthcare plan.

“An unconscionable abuse of power,” Romney declared while asserting that the president “has betrayed his oath to the nation.”

When Mitt starts talking like this, it’s usually because he knows his own past record makes him vulnerable on the issue at hand.

And when it comes to healthcare, his hypocrisy is particularly galling. Romney is actually the only governor in American history ever to impose an individual health insurance mandate on his citizens. And an individual mandate, of course, is at the heart of Obama’s reform package.

Nor is the mandate the only common ground between RomneyCare and ObamaCare; the Massachusetts plan that Romney signed into law in 2006 is essentially the blueprint for Obama’s plan. Both rely on the same basic formula: a requirement that everyone purchase insurance and government assistance for those who can’t afford it.

But Romney can never admit this...

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