The House voted 220-215 on Saturday, November 7, to pass H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, with opposition from 39 democrats and support from one lone Republican, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-Louisiana).
The bill blends and updates the three versions of previous bills passed by the various House committees of jurisdiction in July. The debate now goes to the Senate, where the bill faces tough opposition.
The opposition of Senator Joe Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut, to the House bill’s public plan option has already been noted. If a government plan is part of the healthcare deal, “a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to final vote,” Lieberman is quoted as saying in published reports. Democrats need Lieberman’s vote to overcome any potential Republican filibuster of the bill.
On November 6, the Congressional Budget Office updated its estimate of the cost of the bill to a net $891 billion over 10 years for the expanded health insurance coverage, which sponsors say would cover 36 million Americans. According to this latest estimate the net cost “reflects a gross total of $1,052 billion in subsidies provided through the exchanges (and related spending), increased net outlays for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits for small employers; those costs are partly offset by $167 billion in collections of penalties paid by individuals and employers.”