I was watching live on CSPAN just a few minutes ago when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the heathcare reform bill, HR 3962. The Affordable Healthcare for America bill passed by a vote of 220-215. Only one Republican, Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana was willing to put ordinary Americans ahead of the big insurance companies and their lobbyists. Rep. Cao is a freshman Comgressman and he is to be congratulated for standing up to his own party and voting his conscious. 39 Democrats voted against the bill.
The bill, as passed, is far from perfect but it is definitely a step in the right direction. It does not provide universal health insurance but does make insurance obtainable and/or more affordable for millions of Americans. It ends the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage for "preexisting conditions", which has been grossly abused up until now. It does have a public option but it is very weak in that it does not resemble Medicare but rather forces the government to negotiate rates with health providers. Still, it is a huge step forward.
I'll have more on healthcare later, particularly as the Senate debate moves forward.