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Health care reform passes

Finally.

By a razor thin margin of 219-212, the House of Representatives tonight passed far-reaching legislation that will lead to near-universal health care coverage in the United States — a goal that has eluded Presidents and Congresses for a century.

The vote concluded at 10:48 p.m., almost 10 hours after Democrats gavelled the chamber into session, confident the vote would be there. The bulk of reform will now be enrolled and signed into law, while a separate, smaller package is expected to go to the Senate, where Democrats are expected to muster the 51 votes needed to pass it. The vote on the reconciliation package is expected within the House within the hour.

It took a lot longer than it should have to get here, but we got here. I’m happy, I’m relieved, and I’m ready for the next hill to climb. Statements from State Rep. Garnet Coleman and State Sen. Rodney Ellis are beneath the fold. Congratulations to President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and everyone who helped make history today.

Houston–State Representative Garnet F. Coleman (D-Houston) released the following statement in response to the passage of historic health care legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives.

We got it done. With President Obama’s signature, health care coverage will be the law of the land.

Thanks to the members of Texas’ Democratic Congressional Delegation for providing the votes and the hard work that got reform across the finish line. Their votes will help clean up the health care crisis in Texas that Rick Perry and Republican leaders have refused to address.

After years of being victimized by the colossal abuses of the health care status-quo, Texans and Americans scored a victory. The health care legislation passed today will give health insurance access to 31 million Americans and most of our state’s 6 million uninsured residents.

Today’s accomplishments take the advantage away from the insurance companies and put it back in the hands of Texans and the American people. No longer will Americans be driven into debt by health care costs, be denied coverage based on a preexisting condition, and be indiscriminately dropped from their policy when they’re sick and need it most.

Because of our dismal health standings, Texas stands to gain the most from this legislation. I intend to work hard to ensure that this legislation is implemented effectively in our state, so that quality health care becomes more affordable and more accessible for all of our families.

This legislation moves Texas and America forward. Our country is back on the right path.

Senator Rodney Ellis Lauds Passage of Federal Health Care Reform Bill

“Since the time of Theodore Roosevelt almost every American president has considered significant health reform. Early in his term, President Obama took on that formidable task. The road to reform has been long and arduous, but today Congress passed monumental initiatives for health care coverage that will positively affect the lives of all Americans. This historic event provides meaningful legislation that improves the quality of life for 4.4 million uninsured Texans, slows out of control health care spending, and puts our state on a path to fiscal sustainability. These reforms will put a stop to insurance company abuse and control sky-rocketing premiums and out of pocket costs by strengthening consumer protections, reigning in waste, fraud, and abuse, and implementing commonsense rules to keep premiums low – which over the past decade in Texas, rose 5 times faster than income. 500,000 uninsured middle class Texans’ and millions of Texas children’s fundamental right to adequate medical care was finally won today. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to ensure that President Obama’s health care reform initiatives take effect in our state and that all Texans have access to quality, affordable health care coverage.”

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