It looks like the Affordable Healthcare For America Act, better known as the "healthcare act" if you support it, or "Obamacare" if you are against it, will live to see another day as it moved forward from the House of Representatives about 11 o'clock last night, passing with a final vote of 220 - 215. The bill will head to the Senate next, where legislators will repeat the same three ring circus act again to see if the bill can find enough support among the 100 members of its body to continue on the arduous journey of becoming the law of the land.
You know you're getting old when you look forward to watching the healthcare vote in the House of Representatives on a Saturday evening instead of Saturday Night Live.
Last night, the majority of the Democrats in the House looked like they had Saturday Night Fever - indeed, some of them seemed ready to start dancing in the aisles as the electronic vote totals began to accumulate on the tote board. They had withstood the last minute challenge the Stupak-Pitts Amendment presented Friday night, rallying around the House Democratic leadership's decision to allow an up or down vote on including in the Affordable Healthcare For Americans Act language that prohibits federal funds for abortion services in the public option and in the insurance "exchange" the bill would create.
What this latest wrinkle in the healthcare debate means for the general public is that for the next few weeks, political advertising will compete with holiday season commercials for your attention as special interest groups pull out all the stops in an attempt to sway public support in a direction beneficial to their own self interests.
President Obama released a statement shortly after the vote. "Thanks to the hard work of the House, we are just two steps away from achieving health insurance reform in America. Now the United States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will, and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year."