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US Congress sends Obama historic health overhaul

Mon Mar 22 20:33:53 EST 2010
Mon Mar 22 09:33:53 UTC 2010

WASHINGTON, March 21 AFP - The US House of Representatives has sent a historic health care overhaul to President Barack Obama, bringing the United States closer than ever before to guaranteed coverage for all Americans.

Lawmakers voted 219-212 to approve the Senate-passed legislation on Sunday and were to move quickly to pass a package of changes sought by Obama, who was to mark the legacy-defining political victory with a public statement at the White House.

With the fixes, the overhaul was estimated to extend coverage to some 32 million Americans who currently lack it, bringing to 95 per cent the proportion of under-65 US citizens with private insurance.

Obama was to make a televised statement from the White House some 10-15 minutes after the vote on the changes, which aim to make the Senate bill more like the version passed by the House.

As the bill cleared the magic 216-vote threshhold, Democrats erupted in applause and cheering.