Health Care Reform Will Become Law

Congress delivers a much-needed win to President Obama's desk for signing

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Congress passes health care reform (Mark Wilson/Getty)

12:20 am ET, March 22 - The House passed a package of measures to reconcile the just-passed Senate bill with one the House approved last year. Now those "fixes" are in the hands of the Senate. "This is what change looks like," said President Barack Obama in televised remarks about the historic passage of health care reform. Said House Democratic whip Rep. James Clyburn moments later, "I consider this to be the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century."

11: 25 pm ET - Finally! The U.S. House of Representatives has approved health care reform. The 219-212 vote this evening on the Senate version of the bill approved sweeping changes to the nation's health insurance system and delivers a desperately-needed win for President Barack Obama.

There are still a couple more hurdles in order for House "fixes" to the bill to become law, including a House vote this evening on "fixes," that will still need Senate approval later on. However, Democrats can rejoice that at the very least, the Senate version of the bill become the law of the land.

After well over a year of negotiations, setbacks, and political wrangling, the House has approved President Barack Obama's top domestic policy initiative, sending a bill to massively overhaul the nation's health insurance system to his desk to be signed and enacted into law.

The climactic chapter in a century-long quest for near universal coverage concludes with the House's approval of a bill to extend coverage to 32 million Americans who lack it, ban insurers from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade.

Republicans voted unanimously against the bill, which they say constitutes a government takeover of the health care system, financed by a trillion dollars in higher taxes and Medicare cuts combined.

SOURCE: MSNBC.com