House Approves Landmark U.S. Health-Care Legislation

By Laura Litvan, Nicole Gaouette and Kristin Jensen

March 22 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. House passed the most sweeping health-care legislation in four decades, rewriting the rules governing medical industries and ensuring that tens of millions of uninsured Americans will get medical coverage.

Yesterday’s 219-212 vote marks a victory for President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to sign the bill into law tomorrow. Only Democrats voted for the legislation, underscoring a partisan divide that promises to make health care the defining issue in November’s congressional elections.

Lawmakers hailed the action as a historic follow-up to the 1965 creation of the Medicare program for the elderly and a way to mitigate soaring health costs that make up a sixth of the U.S. economy. It came after a last-minute deal with anti- abortion Democrats and a lobbying trip by Obama to the Capitol.

“It’s a victory for the American people,” Obama told reporters at the White House just before midnight. “This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health-care system but it moves us decisively in the right direction. This is what change looks like.”

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