08 November 2009

They Voted for You: Health Care (Updated)

U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, helped the House pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, voted against the bill in the 220-215 roll call, as did all but one of the chamber's GOP members.

Passage followed a successful amendment that would "impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups," The Associated Press reports.

Mollohan, Capito and Rahall all voted for that amendment in a 240-194 roll call.

"Ironically, that only solidified support for the legislation, clearing the way for conservative Democrats to vote for it," the AP article said.

AP also explains the road ahead for the legislation, while outlining its key provisions:

The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees. Both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates.

Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. In a further slap, the industry would lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price gouging, bid rigging and market allocation.
Update: Before the bill's passage, the House rejected by 258-176 an amendment that would have substituted a GOP-crafted alternative.

Capito co-sponsored that amendment and voted for it, while Mollohan and Rahall voted against.

The GOP version "would have lowered costs for people with insurance but done little or nothing to expand coverage to those without any," AP reports separately. "Rep. Timothy Johnson, R-Ill., opposed the measure and was the only lawmaker to cross party lines."

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