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Senate approves changes to health reform bill

March 25, 2010

The Senate today voted 56-43 to approve "sidecar" legislation to the health reform bill. Approved by the House Sunday, the sidecar bill (H.R. 4872) reflects changes to the Senate health reform bill (H.R. 3590) sought by the House and President Obama. The Senate's budget reconciliation process required only 51 votes for passage. Due to some technical amendments unrelated to the bill's health care provisions, the sidecar bill now goes back to the House, which is expected to approve it tonight. H.R. 3590 was signed into law Tuesday. Together the bills extend health coverage to 32 million people, 95% of legal residents and 92% of all U.S. residents. "We now turn our attention to assisting hospitals and the communities they serve as they prepare for the changes embodied in this most significant legislation," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "Along with the performance improvements and delivery system changes already being driven by hospitals themselves, this legislation helps to create a future where care is more integrated, financial incentives reward quality and efficiency, and greater accountability is provided to patients and communities."