President Barack Obama will sign the package of amendments to the Senate healthcare reform bill approved 220-207 by the House of Representatives at Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, on March 30, according to a White House announcement.
Final reform bill awaits Obama
While most of the heavy lifting had been done by the House on Sunday night—including voting on the Senate bill, and a first-round approval of the amendment package—subsequent actions have included a 56-43 vote in the Senate to approve the amendments and an executive order issued by Obama providing additional safeguards that federal funds would not be used for abortions.
The president also issued a statement earlier this week to highlight part of the reform package that had not received much attention: a provision to permanently reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act first approved by Congress in 1976. In the statement, Obama said the bill will modernize the Indian healthcare system and improve access to healthcare for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Act had expired in September 2000 and was then reauthorized through 2001. Further reauthorization had been considered, but never approved since then.
Passage of healthcare reform was vilified by some groups, while others—such as the American College of Physicians—offered measured support.
The 129,000-member Philadelphia-based internal medicine organization is the nation's largest medical specialty society and it said additional legislation will be need to reform the Medicare and Medicaid payment formulas and to reduce the costs of defensive medicine.
“Health reform is a process, and enactment of this package is an essential beginning, but not an end, of our continued effort to reform America's healthcare system consistent with ACP policies,” said ACP President Joseph Stubbs in a news release.
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