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Politics

The United States Senate this morning approved their health care legislation 60-39. The bill was approved by 58 Democrats, one socialist, and one Lieberman; all Republicans voted against, except Kentucky’s Jim Bunning, who was not present for the vote.

The bill is noteworthy both for the massive commitment it makes — close to $200 billion per year in public subsidies to poor, sick, and uninsured people — and also because it was passed in the face of fairly strong public opposition.

As a piece of policy, it is assuredly imperfect, although some of the conservative and liberal criticisms alike have been based on misinformation and half-truths. It is principally a coverage bill, expected to extend insurance to 30 million Americans, rather than a cost-containment one, which would probably have required more fundamental alterations to the status quo’s employer-based insurance system.

Ezra Klein and Jonathan Chait have more on the nature of the achievement; David Waldman has more on what lies ahead as the Senate seeks to reconcile its bill with the more liberal version passed by the House.

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