US House set to vote on Obama's ambitious health care bill

In an emotional address, Obama exhorted House Democrats to approve the bill, telling them they were on the edge of making history with a decisive vote.
"Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country," he said. "This is one of those moments."

"We have been debating health care for decades. It has now been debated for a year. It is in your hands," Obama said on the ambitious bill on which he has staked much of his political capital since assuming office over a year ago.
The United States is the only developed nation which does not offer its citizens comprehensive health care, with nearly 50 million Americans uninsured.
But the outcome of that vote remained in doubt as a pivotal bloc of Democrats continued to withhold its support over fears that the bill would open the door to the federal funding of abortion, Washington Post reported.

House leaders were working to secure their votes with the promise of an executive order affirming Obama's commitment to a longstanding ban on public abortion funding except in cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur, a key antiabortion vote, said she thought the document would be insufficient to bring the entire group of about 10 antiabortion
Democrats onboard.

The abortion issue has divided Roman Catholic groups in the US, with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opposing the bill and other organisations, including the Catholic Health Association and a coalition of nuns from leading religious orders, favouring it.

Senior Democrats predicted a cliffhanger when the House is expected to vote Sunday night, saying they are likely to clear the 216-vote threshold for final passage by the narrowest of margins.

If the bill is passed by the House, it would immediately send the slightly narrower Senate version of the health bill to the White House for Obama's signature, allowing the president to claim victory on his most important domestic initiative.
The package of revisions would go to the Senate for action next week under special rules that protect it from a GOP filibuster, the Post said.

The package would spend USD 940 billion to extend coverage to 32 million Americans over the next decade, leaving only about five per cent of non-elderly citizens without coverage, according to projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

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