US House of Representatives approves historic healthcare reform billBMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1635 (Published 22 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1635
- Janice Hopkins Tanne
- 1New York
Late on Sunday 21 March the US House of Representatives approved the healthcare reform bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve (BMJ 2010;339:b5671, doi:10.1136/bmj.b5671) and sent it to President Barack Obama to sign into law.
At midnight President Obama praised the legislators and said, “This is what change looks like.” He called it a victory for the American people.
The bill’s passage followed a year’s effort by the president. If it had failed, his Democratic administration would have faced great difficulty in passing other legislation during his three remaining years in office.
The House vote, at 10.45 pm, was 219 to 212, with no Republicans supporting the bill and 34 Democrats voting against it.
Democrats who opposed the bill said that it permitted the federal funding of abortion, because some people would receive subsidies or tax credits to buy insurance covering it. Some were won over by Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, and by President Obama, who promised to issue an executive order preventing federal funding of abortion. That gained the support of Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who had led Democrats opposing the bill because they believed it to be weak on abortion funding. …