Not all House Democrats supported the measure, with 39 Democrats reportedly joining all but one Republican, Rep. Anh Cao of Louisiana, in opposing the bill.
Despite the divided vote, Schiff said, the House move was a critical achievement in the developing effort to craft reform to the nation’s troubled health-care system.
“I think it’s a very important step forward in controlling health-care costs and making health insurance affordable and to extend health insurance to the millions of families that don’t have it,” Schiff said.
Dreier, who could not be reached Monday while he was traveling to Afghanistan, said in a floor statement before the bill’s passage that he agreed health-care reforms were necessary to curb ballooning insurance premiums and offer coverage to more Americans.
“It is truly unfortunate that the health-care debate has come to be cast as a fight between those who favor and those who oppose reform,” Dreier said. “We all want to expand access to coverage for the individuals, working families, seniors and veterans who are worried about their health care.”
But the vote Saturday was a step in the wrong direction, said Dreier, who urged his colleagues to reject the bill and instead support Republican-backed legislation.
“We are proposing an approach that would accomplish the goal of expanding coverage without raising taxes or diminishing coverage for a single American,” Dreier said. “And we would expand access while allowing those who are happy with their current coverage to keep it.”
The Republican plan would not result in insuring more Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Sherman, who will host a town hall meeting Sunday in Sherman Oaks, expected the bill’s passage from the House would generate continued feedback from his already outspoken constituents.
“It is a milestone, but I expect to have one colorful lot of people at my town hall with strong views,” he said.
He was wary of a protracted Senate debate through the rest of the year that he said might strip the legislation of some of its substance.
Two key reforms are needed to ensure major changes in the health-care system, including a method for ensuring that all Americans are covered — which could drive down premium costs overall — and measures preventing insurers from dropping customers because of preexisting health conditions, Sherman said.
“This system, without change, it collapses in a decade,” he said.
Get in touch ZAIN SHAUK covers business and politics. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at email@example.com.