After months of talking about health care reform, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced major legislation to overhaul the nation's health care system. House Democrats unveiled the 1,000-plus-page bill, called America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, on July 14, and it includes most of President Barack Obama's key proposals on health reform.
One of Obama's promises was to require children to have health insurance. The House bill goes a step further, establishing an individual mandate that requires all adults and their dependents to have insurance, or pay additional tax. Obama has said he will support the mandate as long as there is a hardship clause for people truly unable to afford health insurance. It's not clear yet whether a hardship clause would exempt children. (It seems likely such children could qualify for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.)
To be sure, there's a long way to go — maybe months — before the bill becomes law. It has to pass the House and get through the Senate, where many changes could be made.
Nevertheless, the bill marks significant, measurable progress on Obama's promise, and we rate it In the Works.