WASHINGTON (CN) – In a conclusive move on health reform, the House passed the minor Senate changes to the reconciliation package by 220-207 vote Thursday night, sending the bill to President Obama for his signature just hours after passage by the Senate.
The modifications to the health-care bill that Obama signed Tuesday had been sent back after Republicans discovered two minor provisions that had to be removed from the original version because they violated reconciliation rules.
The package expands health insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans beginning in 2014, cuts 40 percent from a new tax on high-level, or “Cadillac,” insurance plans, and delays implementation of that tax until 2018. It imposes a new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on investment income for couples making more than $250,000, and it cuts Nebraska out of special Medicaid assistance.
Republicans had long tried to add what Democrats called “killer amendments” to the package, some of which would have undone essential provisions of the already enacted health bill.
No Republicans supported the package.
Three Senate Democrats and 32 House Democrats voted against it on Thursday. It was approved by the Senate by 56-43 vote.
The reconciliation process allowed the changes to be passed with a simple majority vote in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes required to cut off a filibuster.
One of the flaws that violated reconciliation rules involved a provision that would prevent cuts to the maximum scholarship for Pell grants.