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House Scheduled to Vote Sunday on Health Care Reform

Mar 19, 2010

After appearing to be stalled, health reform now may be moving toward final passage.

After appearing to be stalled, health reform now may be moving toward final passage.  House Democratic leadership will use the budget reconciliation process to make changes to the Senate-passed bill to address concerns of House Democrats and will likely "deem" the Senate bill (H.R. 3590) passed and send it to the President for signature.  Under this process, the House would not take an actual vote on the Senate health care bill, but would instead utilize a House procedural tactic under which the Senate bill is considered passed.  The House would then pass a second bill (the reconciliation bill) that would make changes to the underlying Senate bill.  On March 12, 2010, House Democratic leadership released the text of the reconciliation bill, H.R. 4872, The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.  To access a copy of H.R. 4872, please click here.


H.R. 4872 does not change the ambulance provisions in the underlying Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590), which includes a one year extension of the 2% urban, 3% rural and super rural ambulance relief provisions, retroactive to January 1, 2010.


The Congressional Budget Office has determined that the Democratic health reform plan (Senate-passed bill as modified by budget reconciliation provisions) will cost $940 billion over 10 years, but will trim the federal deficit by $130 billion in the first ten years and $1.2 trillion in the second ten years.  To access a copy of the CBO cost estimate, please click here.


House Democratic leaders need 216 votes to pass the healthcare and reconciliation bills in the House.  It is currently unclear whether there are sufficient votes to pass the measure.  However, recent statements of support by a number of House Democrats who previously opposed the Senate healthcare bill make it likely that Democratic leaders will obtain the necessary votes.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Obama have made outreach to previously-opposed or wavering Members to help ensure their support.  The Washington Post has developed a table that lists which Members of the House are expected to vote in favor of the health care reform bill, which Members will likely oppose the bill, and which Members remain undecided.  To see how your Member is expected to vote, please click here.


The House Leadership has promised to give Members 72 hours to review the legislation before a vote, which is now expected to occur on Sunday, March 21.  Assuming that the House passes H.R. 4872, the Senate would then use the 51-vote budget reconciliation process to pass the bill in the Senate.  That process would occur as early as next week.