(MENAFN) The Democratic-controlled US Congress has finally approved the controversial health bill introduced by President Barack Obama, AP reported.
The historic legislation would extend health care to tens of millions of uninsured US citizens and crack down on insurance company abuses, marking a climactic chapter in the century-long quest for near universal coverage.
The Senate-passed bill cleared the House on a 219-212 vote. Republicans were unanimous in opposition, joined by 34 dissident Democrats. Two months ago, this health legislation was widely viewed as dead.
When the long sought 216th vote came in, Obama exchanged a high-five with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and said that the approval proved that his government is a government of the people and by the people and will continuously works for the people.
Under the new health care legislation, for the first time, most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and face penalties if they refused. Much of the money in the bill would be devoted to subsidies to aid families at incomes of up to 88,000 a year pay their premiums.