Americans can finally see the shape of their eventual healthcare.
The House now has a bill which will extend coverage to 96% of the people; will lower costs for every patient and will not add to the federal deficit. It is expected to be voted on next week.
The Senate Democrats are expecting to vote on their bill by year end. Then, if the two bills have passed, they will be harmonized in committee.
House and Senate Republicans are expected to oppose the eventual bill, perhaps unanimously, but if the Democrats hold together, it will pass. Democrats control 256 seats in the House so can afford at least 30 defectors. They have 60 Senate seats.
The eventual changes in the delivery of healthcare in the US are expected to be phased in over as much as five years.
Empty suits: House GOP leaders voice concerns over a health care reform bill from House Democrats.
On the face of it, it appears the Republicans are taking a great risk voting against a bill that the vast majority of Americans say they want. And, after doing nothing throughout the 8-year Bush Administration to deal with healthcare, they seem to offer no clear alternatives to what the Democrats will finally present.
Had not the Democrats had clear majorities in both the House and the Senate, healthcare, it appears, would have been swept under the gurney once again.