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The House Takes One Final Vote

The House sure didn't waste any time. Just hours after the Senate passed amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the House passed them, too, by a vote of 220 to 209. 

And that's it. Congress is done with health care reform, or at least this phase of it. All that remains is for President Obama to sign the amendments into law.

My colleague Jonathan Chait has observed how much the political landscape has changed, almost overnight. It's worth observing that the policy landscape has, too. In the span of one week, Congress passed and the president signed laws that will:

-- Bring insurance to around 30 million people that wouldn't have it otherwise

-- Strengthen the minimum protection that insurance provides to everybody

-- Streamline administrative work for patients, doctors, and companies alike

-- Invest substantial sums of money in the construction of new community clinics and the training of new health care workers, both of which should help the economy even as they help meet our society's unmet medical needs

-- Introduce delivery reforms that should help make the health care system at least a little more efficient and at least a little less expensive

And oh, by the way, they managed to completely revamp the student loan program along the way. At any other time in recent memory, that would have been a huge accomplishment all its own. Today, it's just part of the mix.