The U.S. House of Representatives, with a narrow 220-215 majority, has passed a health care bill which would establish a so-called public insurance option. The vote was largely on party lines. The bill will now go through a reconciliation process with the Senate health care bill passed earlier this year which did not include the controversial (and unconstitutional) public insurance plan.

Before passage, an amendment was considered and passed which would definitively prohibit the use of government insurance or funding for abortions. The inclusion of abortion coverage in the original bill had caused consternation among moderate Democrats and other groups (such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) that might otherwise have supported the bill.

It is unclear at this point how likely or unlikely it is for the abortion limitation or even the public option itself to survive the bicameral reconciliation with the significantly different Senate bill.