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Monday morning at 1 a.m., Senate Democrats scrambled over a major hurdle in their attempts to pass a comprehensive health care reform bill through Congress. But in order to secure the 60 votes necessary to move forward, the proposed health care bill had to undergo a series of concessions and transformations that altered some of its original mainstays (no more public option, triggered or otherwise, and no Medicare expansion).
The compromise was made and the Senate is prepared to pass the bill, which aims to extend coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans.
"After nearly a century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality in the United States of America," said President Obama this morning.
"It's historic," said Theda Skocpol, professor of government and sociology at Harvard University. "A hundred years have gone by as reformers have fought for the principle that government should be involved in access to affordable health care for virtually all Americans, and particularly lower income Americans. It's a giant step in that direction."
Skocpol says it will take years for health care reform to be fully implemented, but today's news is at least a start.
"It took 25 years for Social Security to grow into what it became, but they started in '35. We'll look back and say, 'We started in 2009 toward affordable, accessible health insurance for all Americans."
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the health care reform bill to be about $871 billion.
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