The heatlh care bill was passed today by a vote of 60-39. The bill will now go back and forth to both chambers of Congress, a process during which the Republicans hope to defeat the bill before it becomes law. All 58 Democrats and the 2 independents voted for the bill while 39 Republicans voted against it. The Wall Street Journal notes:
Republicans accused Democrats of rushing the vote and noted that Mr. Reid put out a nearly 400-page amendment to the bill on Saturday "over the weekend of a snowstorm," as Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) put it. "This has been very troubling to a lot of us," he said.
The 10-year $871 billion measure would expand Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor, and create new tax subsidies to help lower- and middle-income families comply with a mandate to purchase insurance. That mandate would be enforced by a financial penalty of up to $750 for any individual who fails to get coverage.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation would reduce the budget deficit by $132 billion over the next decade, through a combination of tax increases on the health-care sector and spending cuts, which largely fall on Medicare payments to health-care providers.
Unless the House succeeds in shooting it down, the only hope left to defeat this bill is now left up to the states.