Congress approves reconciliation healthcare bill during historic week

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)

The House and Senate Thursday approved the second healthcare reform bill, bringing to a close the bruising healthcare reform fight in Congress.

The Senate on Thursday approved a package of changes to the healthcare reform package—the so-called “reconciliation bill”—by a vote of 56-43. Minor alterations to a provision covering student loans sent the bill to the House for final passage. The House approved it later Thursday 220-207. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. 

Obama earlier this week signed the main healthcare reform bill into law. While one of its main purposes is to crack down on insurance abuses, the law also will affect the long-term care system. Nursing homes will face more transparency requirements. The CLASS Act, which will create a long-term care insurance program, is also part of the law.