The US senate has passed a landmark $871 billion healthcare bill, handing out a huge Christmas eve political victory to President Barack Obama.
A centerpiece of Obama’s political agenda, the bill will extend medicare services to 36 million un-insured Americans. It proposes sweeping changes in the $2.5 trillion medical insurance market.
Senate passed the early morning legislation with 60 votes cast in its favour and 39 against it. Every member of the Democratic caucus backed the measure while every Republican opposed it.
Obama welcomed the passage of the ‘historic’ and ‘landmark’ bill, saying, “It brings to an end nearly a century long struggle to reform America’s health care system.”
There has been intense opposition to the bill and it is a major achievement for Obama on the domestic policy front which eluded the democrats for decades.
“With passage of reform bills in both the House and the Senate, we are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health-insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people,” Obama said in his brief remarks from the White House.
The bill includes the hardest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable.
“Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition. They will no long be able to drop your coverage when you get sick,” Obama said as he greeted his countrymen on Christmas eve.