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In a 219 to 212 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the much-debated healthcare reform legislation Sunday night. The bill will now go to President Barack Obama’s desk.

Penn students expressed various reactions to the legislation, intended to provide healthcare coverage to 32 million more Americans.

“I honestly think that this bill is one of the most significant changes in social policy that we’ve had since FDR,” Penn Democrats President Emma Ellman-Golan said.

College junior Kingdar Prussien currently interns for Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in Washington, D.C., focusing on healthcare legislation as part of Penn’s Washington Semester Program. Prussien was “very happy” with the vote, adding that it would change the role of health care in the political realm.

He said the topic “has been beaten to death,” and now more attention will be focused on immigration and other issues, contributing to a “new political atmosphere.”

According to College Republicans President and Wharton senior Peter Devine, the bill was passed in “a hostile political environment,” which he believes will be “detrimental.”

This “hot-button issue,” Devine noted, will likely be a debate topic between his organization and Penn Dems in a spring semester debate.

Rather than discussing the legislation itself, however, “how the legislation was passed … will be the more pressing issue,” Devine said.

Ellman-Golan pointed out that as part of the legislation, students would be allowed to remain under their parents’ health-insurance plans until their 27th birthdays, which she finds “fantastic … given the economy that most of us are going to be graduating into.”

“It’s music to my ears,” Wharton freshman Troy Daly said. “I don’t want to have to go out and get a health-insurance plan going out of college.”

While some students believe this to be the end of the long-disputed issue, others think there is still more work to be done.

“I’m afraid that this bill will make it seem like we’ve addressed the issue of health care and inequalities when I don’t think we really have,” Nursing freshman Lisa Doi said.

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