Democrats pass historic health care reform

Washington - (NBC) - With just three votes to spare, the house sends President Obama a sweeping health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32 million Americans, "enabling people to have freedom, a healthier life, the ability to pursue their own happiness," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

President Obama immediately claimed victory, "this is what change looks like....this isn't radical reform, but it is major reform."

Every Republican and 34 Democrats voted against it. "We have failed to listen to America, and we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents Shame on us; shame on this body; shame on each and every one of you!" said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).

The latest NBC poll showed Americans almost evenly split on this plan, which expands Medicaid, taxes the wealthy, and bars insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

The cost is nearly $1 trillion, and every American will have to buy insurance. People who are self-employed or switch jobs can shop around for affordable coverage in state-based exchanges, but most of the major provisions don't kick in until 2014.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill in the next day or so, but Republicans are expected to put up a fight, and there's already an effort underway to repeal health care reform.

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