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Senate Passes Historic Health Care Reform Bill on Party Line Vote

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.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.