Senate Passes Health Reform Bill, 60-39

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , December 24, 2009

Shortly after 7 a.m. this morning, the Senate passed its healthcare reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), along party lines. The 60-39 vote marks the first time in more than a century that the Senate has voted on a Christmas Eve.

After 25 days of floor debate, the Senate adjourned for the year.

The bill, with a cost estimated at $871 billion over the next 10 years, contains no public option like the House bill. However, it does include provisions for mandated benefits. The next step for the bill will be reconciliation later in January.

Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) charged that the bill did "not do what it was supposed to," which he said was lower costs. He said that senators who voted for the bill "would get an earful" when they returned home for the holidays.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), citing a case from his state where insurance reform was needed, agreed that they would get an "earful," but that it would be of "wonderment and happiness."

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at




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