President Barack Obama is to soon sign into law a bill that overhauls the U.S. health care system, after the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the sweeping reform.
The Democratic-controlled House approved a Senate-passed health care bill late Sunday by a vote of 219 to 212. Minority Republicans were unanimous in opposition, and 34 Democrats joined them in voting no.
Mr. Obama praised the vote on his top domestic priority, which came after a year-long political battle with Republicans. The measure is the biggest reform of the U.S. health care system in four decades.
The bill is designed to make health insurance available to the 32 million Americans who do not have it, bringing the United States closer to providing universal health coverage.
House Republican leader John Boehner said lawmakers failed to listen to America, and failed to reflect the will of their constituents.
Speaking at the White House, Mr. Obama said the bill also will benefit Americans who already have health insurance by curbing what he called the worst excesses and abuses of the insurance industry.
Critics warned the bill will hurt Americans by raising taxes, driving up insurance premiums and increasing government intrusion into medical decisions.
Republicans vowed to make Democrats pay a political price for the reforms in mid-term congressional elections in November.
President Obama said the House bill will not fix everything that ails the U.S. health care system, but moves the country in the right direction.
He secured a majority for the bill by doing a deal with several Democrats concerned it could allow federal funds for abortions. Mr. Obama satisfied the group by promising to reissue an executive order re-affirming current restrictions on federal funding of the practice.
The House also approved a separate bill of changes to the Senate-passed measure. The changes will be considered by the Senate under rules that require only a simple majority of the 100-seat assembly for passage. Democrats control 59 seats.
President Obama is expected to sign the House-approved health care bill into law in the coming days. The Senate is expected to take a longer period to debate the changes approved by the House in the separate legislation.
Several Bangladeshis living in the United States share their thoughts about this health care bill with VOA.