US House passes key healthcare reform bill

The US House of Representatives has narrowly voted to pass a landmark healthcare reform bill at the heart of President Barack Obama’s agenda. The bill was passed by 219 votes to 212, with no Republican backing, after hours of fierce argument and debate. It extends coverage to 32 million more Americans, and marks the biggest change to the US healthcare system in decades. Under the legislation, health insurance will be extended to nearly all Americans, new taxes will be imposed on the wealthy, and restrictive insurance practices such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions will be outlawed.

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