Other large social programs like Medicare and Social Security passed with strong bipartisan majorities, but healthcare reform and its package of 'fixes' lacked a single Republican vote. Republican leaders call the process used to pass healthcare reform a 'game-changer.'
Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP
After a late-breaking glitch over 20 words, the package of “fixes” essential to win passage of a sweeping healthcare reform bill cleared the House and Senate on Thursday, promising access to healthcare to some 31 million now-uninsured Americans.
But lawmakers are just beginning to assess the cost of moving a vast new social entitlement without a single Republican vote – a first for the US Congress. Both Social Security and Medicare cleared Congress with big, bipartisan majorities.
Democrats say Americans will soon forget the go-it-alone process used to move this historic legislation as they come to know its benefits.
“Last year, a supermajority in the United States Senate passed the most crucial social, economic, and moral change in several generations. Just a couple of days ago, the president signed that into law. And today we made that law even better,” said Senate majority leader Harry Reid at a briefing after the Senate vote.
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