After weeks of debating health care reform on the Senate floor and months of piecing legislation together, the Senate has passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill passed on party lines by a vote of 60-39 early this morning.
While this vote signifies major progress in the Senate, health care reform still must clear several hurdles before reaching President Obama's desk. Democratic Leadership in both bodies of Congress must now conference together to resolve vast differences in their respective legislation. These differences include overall cost of the legislation, Medicaid expansion, abortion, tax subsidies, and the inclusion of a public health insurance option.
Although a formal Congressional conference is unlikely to occur, Democratic leadership in the House and Senate will work closely after Christmas with members of the Administration to reach agreement on these and all other issues. Democratic leadership is hoping that final legislation will be passed by Congress and sent to President Obama's desk by the President's State of the Union Address, which is scheduled for January 28th.
To help better understand the differences in the House passed legislation and the Senate passed legislation, we have provided a side-by-side analysis with this update that highlights the major issues of health care reform.
To view table click here.