By an overwhelming majority in both houses, Congress reversed a bias built into the 1965 law for seniors when it overturned a presidential veto of a Medicare bill. It will take six years for the rates to drop from the current 50 percent to the same 20 percent older Americans pay for physical health, but the reversal is a symbolic and a real achievement and was the focus of intense lobbying by advocacy and consumer organizations. In addition to establishing parity, the bill also halted reductions in doctors' fees.

It took less than one week to for Congress to override. Yesterday's vote in the house, 383 to 41, included 153 Republicans; the Senate voted 70 to 26. Last week's vote in the Senate allowing the bill to go to the White House was championed by the arrival of Sen. Edward Kennedy who cast the vote ending a filibuster and making the law veto-proof.

To view the legislative history and vote breakdown, click here.

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Phyllis Vine

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