A Day that Will Live in Infamy: Congress Passes Historic Obama Health Care Bill


congressUpdated: Summoned to success by President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled Congress approved historic legislation tonight extending health care to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and cracking down on insurance company abuses, a climactic chapter in the century-long quest for near universal coverage.Widely viewed as dead two months ago, the Senate-passed bill cleared the House on a 219-212 vote. Republicans were unanimous in opposition, joined by 34 dissident Democrats.

Obama watched the vote in the White House’s Roosevelt Room with Vice President Joe Biden and dozens of aides. When the long sought 216th vote came in – the magic number needed for passage – the room burst into applause and an exultant president exchanged a high-five with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

“We proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things,” the president said a short while later in televised remarks. “We proved that this government – a government of the people and by the people – still works for the people.

A second, smaller measure – making changes in the first – cleared the House shortly before midnight and was sent to the Senate, where Democratic leaders said they had the votes necessary to pass it quickly. The vote was 220-211.

Far beyond the political ramifications – a concern the president repeatedly insisted he paid no mind – were the sweeping changes the bill held in store for nearly every American, insured or not, as well as the insurance industry and health care providers such as hospitals, nursing homes and medical device manufacturers.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the legislation awaiting the president’s approval would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who lack it, ban insurers from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade. If realized, the expansion of coverage would include 95 percent of all eligible individuals under age 65.

For the first time, most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and face penalties if they refused. Much of the money in the bill would be devoted to subsidies to help families at incomes of up to $88,000 a year pay their premiums.

For the president, the events capped an 18-day stretch in which he traveled to four states and lobbied more than 60 wavering lawmakers in person or by phone to secure passage of his signature domestic issue. According to some who met with him, he warned that the bill’s demise could cripple his still-young presidency, and his aides hoped to use the victory on health care as a springboard to success on bills to tackle stubbornly high unemployment that threatens Democratic prospects in the fall.

 {AP/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Wow – I actually have health insurance and this means the countless yeshiva bochrim, kollel families and rebbes will actually have health insurance – baruch Hashem

  2. How many people will die due to this? How many jobs will be lost? how many more qualified and talented doctors will choose other professions?

    We have to hope this can be reversed

  3. “A day that will live in infamy”? This is the headline on a NEWS site? And Matzav wants to maybe ban comments? Why, so this site can just be one giant op-ed page?

  4. This story originated with the Associated Press (AP) under the headline: “Congress clears historic health care bill.” It has been picked up by hundreds of news outlets, but a google search indicates that ONLY MATZAV altered the headline by adding “A Day that Will Live in Infamy.” But clearly, you don’t even know what “infamy” means.

    The article is celebratory in nature, i.e. the AP author thinks that the health care bill is a GOOD thing! (Hey, just read the first paragraph and you’ll get the idea). “Infamy,” though, is very, very BAD. The result of your headline change is that it no longer makes any sense because it doesn’t fit the article.

  5. Infamy is defined as “a state of extreme dishonor”. This is what FDR said when the Japanese raided Pearl Harbor

  6. Sholom Aleichem from Bournemouth, UK!

    Can one of you good American yiddn kindly explain to this Englisher greenhorn just why you all seem to object to the US healthcare bill

    I have lived in the United Kingdom all my life, apart from 22 years spent in EY. I was born in 1948, so I was born and I have lived all my life under the umbrella of either the British National Health Service, or Kupat Holim (in EY).

    I underwent a prolonged series of diagnostic tests for a serious gastro-intestinal condition, which led to a four-hour surgical operation which, thanks to Hashem, I have survived and from which I am now recovering. I worked out that, if I had had to pay for these FREE services from the UK NHS, I would have had to pay slightly more than £360,000 which is roughly $240,000. I get all this, and every other possible medical service I will ever need from my birth, right through to the day I die, for a tiny percentage deducted from my salary. Now that I am aged 60+ I get ALL my medications for free.

    Every inhabitant of Great Britain is automatically insured and entitled to FREE healthcare. Meanwhile, 40,000,000 Americans have no health insurance whatsoever.

  7. One of the greatest things that Israel has done for its citizens is a socialized medicine program, which makes medical care affordable for all.

    It’s about time that the US has taken the lead from Israel, Canada, and other countries with mandatory health insurance programs for their citizens.

  8. Just a few questions for those in the audience that know, what will a health insurance policy cost under this new legislation (as was announced how everyone will be required by law to have this much cheaper policy) and how much of a fine would a non policy holder face? And also why cant private health insurance providers still provide the top notch service they have provided untill now, with perhaps a greater profit if they provide a much better service? and so israelis and people who used to come from around the world for americas best service well they will still come in that case no? Just asking anybody that knows.

  9. To Mr. “You just cost me my job” (comment no. 3):

    I guess you work for the health insurance industry. Yup, now that their obscene profits are in jeopardy, I suppose that many in that rapacious industry will need to find more honest work.

  10. To #11,
    No more incentive for companies to be top-notch because now, everyone will buy cheap insurance as long as they are not sick. If they get sick with a serious condition they can now purchase the top-notch insurance – since they can’t deny it based on pre-existing condition. So top insurance companies go down the drain and everything becomes an even playing field. Then Gov’t steps in and takes over insurance entirely. No incentive for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to excel.

  11. To BshteiEinayim (no. 14) who wrote: “No incentive for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to excel.”

    Oh? How about pride of accomplishment? How about the drive for many people, created b’Tzelem Elokim, to always strive to do their very best? How about people who dedicate their lives to doing chessed and helping others regardless of the renumeration? How about Gedolei Yisrael who, often living their lives in poverty, nevertheless rose to gadlus as human beings, and whom we are supposed to emulate?

    You and your kind are so cynical about human nature that you believe EVERYONE bows down to the almighty dollar? How sad…and very un-Toradik.

  12. “A day that will live in infamy?!” Really? You wish to conflate healthcare reform with the attack on Pearl Harbor that killed nearly 2,500 American servicemen? Regardless of one’s political position, this kind of inflammatory language is extreme and unbecoming to a torah-true website.

  13. what an appalling “lede” (Correct spelling, check it out).
    For a site dealing with subject matter for a supposed enlightened ethnicity, the animus displayed is often selfish, condescending and critical. Most comments are very self serving.
    We should be guided by a higher standard than that which is presented here.

  14. “Health care is not only a civil right, it’s a moral issue.”
    REP. PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Democrat of Rhode Island.

  15. #16,

    You have nice theories, the same as that of the USSR. History, and plenty of theory as well, has proven that people need a financial incentive to produce their best work.

    Finding a few exceptions dosent change the general rule

  16. obama get out of office NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!