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Landmark Health Legislation Headed to President Obama's Desk; Reaction to Passage of Health Reform; Health Insurance Benefits

Aired March 22, 2010 - 11:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: It is Monday, March 22nd. And here are the top stories for you in the CNN NEWSROOM.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The bill is passed.



HARRIS: OK. The Democrats do it.

House lawmakers passing the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since Medicare and Medicaid. President Obama making history again. He is set to sign the landmark bill, marking success where presidents have failed for decades.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!


HARRIS: Well, not everyone views it as a victory. Protesters voicing opposition on Capitol Hill. And we are hearing from you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a victory for not only you and I, but for everyone around us.


HARRIS: A lot to talk about.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Landmark legislation overhauling the nation's health care system headed for President Obama's desk. And we have learned he's expected to sign it tomorrow. Health care reform is a story making headlines across the country today, and the common theme in the headlines is historic. "The Washington Post," "House Passes Historic Health Reform Bill." "The Dallas Morning News," "Congress Passes Historic Health Care Legislation." "The Denver Post," "Congress Clears Historic Health Care Expansion." And from the "L.A. Times," "Historic Health Care Bill Passes."

The vote last night followed more than a year of often bitter debate and a weekend of intense, last-minute political persuasion.

Congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar live at Capitol Hill with more on what happened and what happens next.

And Brianna, is that the bill?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the bills. And I just want to show you what's in the bag for Democrats and what still has to work its way through Congress.

These are the two bills the House passed last night. And this is the one that the Senate had already passed.

This is a signature away from becoming law. This is what President Obama will sign tomorrow.

This is the tweaks bill, the changes. Right? So you can see this is the big thing. This is the body of it.

And these are sort of adjustments that the House passed that now the Senate needs to pass. They need 51 votes to pass. And the next step there is Democrats say that they are going to do it as quickly as possible, hopefully by the end of the week. But Republicans also have some parliamentary tools in their shed that they can use to slow it down, and we're still waiting to see how that all plays out -- Tony.

HARRIS: OK. And boy, if you would, for folks who just tuned in after living their lives, their real lives over the weekend, maybe you can talk about what the process was like for you on very little sleep.

KEILAR: Oh, on very little sleep I feel like for the last year, honestly, Tony. I mean, I think I got two hours of sleep last night, four hours the night before. And I'm one of those people that really needs eight hours of sleep, unlike some of my colleagues who can subsist on four hours of sleep a night.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

KEILAR: But, of course, that's a situation that everyone here on Capitol Hill has been experiencing. Lawmakers, of course, because this really went up to the 11th hour, as you know.

We only learned I think a few hours before the votes yesterday that House Democrats said we have it, we've crossed that threshold. And so this is something that we have been covering now for, I think, 14 months. It's weird because it seems close to the end here. And back in January -- we talked about this on the phone earlier. January, when Scott Brown, the Republican from Massachusetts, took away Democrats' filibuster-proof majority, I think there was quite the sense that, whoa, this may be the end, this may be the for health care reform. So a couple months later, it's pretty amazing.

HARRIS: Right. Well, and there is still more process ahead.

Brianna, appreciate it. I know you will be following it for us.

Brianna Keilar on Capitol Hill.

We will take an in-depth look at what the health care reform legislation means for you. That is ahead this hour.

And we're listening to what you're saying. Here's reaction from two doctors in California.


DR. RICHARD GOULD, PEDIATRICIAN: I am a small business owner in my medical practice. And if I have to pay an increased tax to take care of the availability of health care for patients, and at the same time I get paid less for taking care of those patients, it's sort of a double tax to the health care industry.



DR. PAUL ROSENBERG, E.R. PHYSICIAN: I work in a lot of emergency rooms, and we see uninsured people come in all the time. We end up paying for it anyway. You're much better off paying for it in a planned system than this unplanned system which spikes the costs.



HARRIS: What do you think about the House passing health care reform? Our John Zarrella is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is getting some answers.

And I've got to tell you, John, following the debate as closely as we all have for the last year, I know you were getting a little bit of everything when it comes to reactions.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, that is absolutely the truth, Tony.

You know, we're here at Lester's Diner. And when you talk to folks here, they'll tell you that this is the place people come to solve the world's problems. And this one is one that has really drawn a tremendous amount of mixed opinion from folks.

I'm sitting here with Daniel this morning.

And, you know, Daniel, we've heard a broad cross-section of people's views on this. And you're one of those folks who thinks that this is literally a huge mistake.


I can't imagine the government any bigger than it is. It's already so huge and so inefficient. And I'm livid about this.

It's not anything that I can individually do anything about right now, but collectively, I know I'm speaking for millions and millions of people that either won't go on camera or what, but we're huge. We're legion, and we're going to take this back.

ZARRELLA: You feel as if -- that this was shoved down your throat? Is that kind of how you feel about it?

MILLEN: That's absolutely what it is. It's incrementalism.

We're inching forward. The government is taking over, what, 18 percent of our -- or trying to take over 18 percent of our economy. It's already too big, and yet they want more.

This is somewhere around, what, $1 trillion? They say it's $800 billion, but name a program that the government has created which has cost less. And that's the whole point.

The government can't do with less. I have to do with less. You probably have had to do with less.

But the government just says, just give us more. Just give us a little bit more and we'll take care of you.

That is not government's job, to take care of us. And it's so maddening. But we just have to stop this.

Get out of our back pockets. Get out of the business of health care. It's just not where they belong.

ZARRELLA: Daniel, thanks.

I'm going to try and get one more quick interview in, Tony.

HARRIS: Sure. Sure.

ZARRELLA: I'm going to talk to Martin over here.

And Martin, let me slide in next to you for one quick second here. You, too, you're not in favor of this either.

MARTIN TRUJILLO, HEALTH CARE BILL OPPOSER: No. I'm absolutely against this. I think it's the biggest mistake that this country has ever made.

I feel that it's too costly. My children, my grandchildren are going to be the ones to pay this bill.

The congressmen that voted for this, when I find out who they did in my county, my state of Florida, I will definitely be one to cast a vote against them because I don't feel they should be in office. The people of this country and the state of Florida were against it. They never asked me how I felt about it. And election time comes around, I will vote against any congressman that voted for this bill.

ZARRELLA: Martin, thanks so much.

So I think, Tony, you know, you're hearing two opinions here very staunchly against it. But now, earlier today, we had quite a few people who told us that they felt it was their social responsibility. They didn't mind if they had to pay a little bit higher in taxes, and they thought the bill was the right thing to do.

But the real emotional folks on this issue obviously are those that you have heard here just now, too, people that are absolutely against it and say it is too big of a package, and that government bit off a way more than it should in this particular case -- Tony.

HARRIS: John, you go to the diner, you have people step up to the microphone and offer their views on things. And I love hearing it. Hope to talk to you again next hour.

John Zarrella for us.

John, thank you.

ZARRELLA: You got it, Tony. Take care.

HARRIS: We are also getting reaction from many of our iReporters.


ALISON VICTORIA, IREPORTER: Forty-five thousand people die in this country every year, not because they have an untreatable condition, but because they don't have insurance and can't afford the treatment on their own. No, the bill isn't perfect. It's not everything I wanted. But it will save lives.



CAMERON HARRELSON, IREPORTER: We are going to be the ones having to pay for it. We're going to have to endure it the longest. So, therefore, to my generation, I apologize for the mistake that Congress has just made on their behalf. I will apologize because they're not going to.


HARRIS: OK. And we want to hear from you, of course. Give us a call and let us know what you think about the House passing the health care reform bill.

Give me a call at this number: 1-877-742-5760. And if you have questions about the bill, you're certainly not alone. You can go to my blog, You can leave questions for our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen. She will join us in the next hour with some answers for you.

President Obama says it wasn't an easy vote but it was the right vote. His remarks celebrating passage of health care reform are just ahead.

Rob Marciano is tracking weather. A Midwest storm is on the move and rain is on the way. He will tell us all about it. That's coming up next.

But first, the latest numbers from the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow up 50 for a Monday. We are following these numbers for you throughout the day, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.



UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!


HARRIS: "Kill the bill," the rallying cry for opponents of health care reform passed by the House last night. Protesters paraded outside the Capitol yesterday within earshot of lawmakers preparing to vote on the legislation.

President Obama says the health care reform vote proves that government still works for the people. The president made a statement from the East Room of the White House just before midnight last night. He said passage of the bill is a victory for the country.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today's vote answers the dreams of so many who have fought for this reform. To every unsung American who took the time to sit down and write a letter or type out an e-mail hoping your voice would be heard, it has been heard tonight. To the untold numbers who have knocked on doors and made phone calls, who organized and mobilized out of a firm conviction that change in this country comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up, let me reaffirm that conviction.

This moment is possible because of you. Most importantly, today's vote answers the prayers of every American who has hoped deeply for something to be done about a health care system that works for insurance companies but not for ordinary people.

For most Americans, this debate has never been about abstractions, the fight between right and left, Republican and Democrat. It's always been about something far more personal.

It's about every American who knows the shock of opening an envelope to see that their premiums just shot up again when times are already tough enough. It's about every parent who knows the desperation of trying to cover a child with a chronic illness only to be told no again and again and again. It's about every small business owner forced to choose between insuring employees and staying open for business. They are why we committed ourselves to this cause.

Tonight's vote is not a victory for any one party. It is a victory for them. It's a victory for the American people. And it's a victory for common sense.


HARRIS: Republican lawmakers voted in lockstep against the reform bill. They blasted the legislation as an expensive government takeover of health care.

Minority leader John Boehner took to the House floor, saying lawmakers failed to listen to the people.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: Today, this body, this institution enshrined in the first article of the Constitution by our founding fathers, as a sign of the importance they placed on this House, should be looking with pride on this legislation and our work. But it is not so.

No. Today we are standing here looking at a health care bill that no one in this body believes is satisfactory. Today we stand here amidst the wreckage of what was once the respect and honor that this House was held in by our fellow citizens. And we all know why it is so.

We have failed to listen to America. And we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents. And when we fail to reflect that will, we fail ourselves and we fail our country.

Look at this bill. Ask yourself, do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have that you can keep it? No, you can't.


BOEHNER: In this economy --


BOEHNER: You can't say that.



Health care reform may be here, but many of its changes are still a few years off. What you can do now to maximize your coverage.


HARRIS: Let's get you caught up on our top stories now.

A tight vote brings the biggest expansion in health care guarantees for Americans in decades. There was cheering from Democrats on Capitol Hill as the House of Representatives passed a sweeping health care reform bill overnight.

The three-day British Airways cabin crew strike ends today, but the union is threatening to start a four-day work stoppage this weekend. The airline says it is weathering the strike better than expected. The union is asking BA's board of directors to get involved.

With Americans focused on the health care vote, Tiger Woods took the next step toward repairing his image. In his first TV interview since the sex scandal broke, Woods admitted he has been, in his words, living a lie.


TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become.


WOODS: Well, I had gotten away from my core values, as I said earlier. I had gotten away from my Buddhism. And I quit meditating, I quit doing all the things that my mom and dad had taught me. And as I said earlier in my statement, I felt entitled, and that is not how I was raised.


HARRIS: Just two weeks before the Masters begins, Woods says he is nervous about fan reaction when he returns to the pro-golf tour.

Health care reform may be on its way, but there are ways you can make the most of your health insurance right now.

Ines Ferre has your top tips on what benefits you may be overlooking.

All right, Ines. Get us started here.

INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. Well, Tony, when you get your insurance, you probably get a stack of papers about your plan's details. But going online can help you find benefits you may not even be aware of.

For example, you can find out where to get free screenings and when you can get immunizations. And many larger insurance groups are starting up social networks so members can talk to each other and trade information about doctors or procedures. And by setting up a profile, you can get information on your benefits much more easily than paging through a book, for example -- Tony.

HARRIS: Yes, how about that?

What about free, free, free medical advice?

FERRE: Yes, free. Well, many larger carriers will have a hotline staffed by nurses that you can call if you don't want to trek into the emergency room or go to a doctor.

Say, for example, you have an infection that seems to be getting worse, or you want advice on how to treat a sore throat. Of course, for major medical emergencies, head to the closest hospital, but for minor emergencies or for advice, these hotlines can save you time and money -- free.

HARRIS: Yes, love that.

What other benefits do people normally overlook?

FERRE: OK. Well, many insurance carriers are offering incentives if you lose weight or stop smoking. So, if you join a gym or take part in a weight loss program, or start a stop smoking program, let your insurance know about it. You may be eligible for discounts on these memberships.

And, of course, Tony, if you have questions, people can send them to

HARRIS: Awesome, as always, Ines. See you next hour. Thank you.

FERRE: Thank you.

HARRIS: And more details on how the health care overhaul will affect you. I'm going to talk with our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, about footing the bill, find out what you can expect to pay.

That's next, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.




TEXT: Historic Health Care Bill -- Creates a series of health insurance exchanges for small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to pool resources and purchase less expensive coverage.

HARRIS: Question for you -- will health care reform guarantee a smoother ride now for small business owners and their employees? Beth Lovering owns a bike store out in California. Lindsay Paolo from affiliate KCRA talked to her about the impacts on her business.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LINDSAY PAOLO, KCRA REPORTER (voice-over): Beth Lovering owns a busy bicycle shop in downtown Davis. She has 11 employees, six of them full time. She's not required to offer them health care coverage, but she does.

BETH LOVERING, BIKE STORE OWNER: We have a fairly decent plan now, but with all the deductibles and all the requirements that you have to meet, it's almost like you're paying for insurance that you're scared to use.

PAOLO: Lovering's daughter is a full-time student and full-time employee. Even with the insurance, she's incurred medical costs she has to pay for. Lovering doesn't know how the health care reform bill would affect her and her workers.

LOVERING: My biggest concern is that whatever comes out of this is that my employees be able to get better health insurance at hopefully a lower rate.

PAOLO: Anthony Ride is executive director foe Health Access California, a consumer group that fights for underinsured and uninsured patient rights. He says the bill would extend coverage to 4 million Californians who don't have or can't get insurance, and make it more affordable and accessible for small business.

ANTHONY RIDE, HEALTH ACCESS: Small businesses would get tax credits to afford the coverage for their workers.

PAOLO: But John Kabateck with National Federation of Independent Businesses, who spoke at a health care forum today, says that's not nearly enough.

JOHN KABATECK, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES: It could actually create new mandates, new taxes and really pretty much a government takeover at a time when small business owners and Americans are looking for flexibility and being better connected with their health care.

LOVERING: It's a wait and see. Yes, it's a totally wait-and-see attitude.


HARRIS: Well, the sweeping health care bill passed by the House promises a real sea change in the way small business owners purchase and provide health insurance for themselves and employees. CNNMoney is all over the story, and let's get you to New York now and our Stephanie Elam.

Stephanie, first of all, what do you think? Ramifications -- big, small, somewhere in the middle here for small businesses?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Say that again, Tony? Want to make sure I heard you right.

HARRIS: The ramifications of what was passed yesterday, big or small, somewhere in the middle here for small businesses?

ELAM: No, it's major. These changes are going to be major for the way that these small businesses go about getting what they need as far as health insurance for them and for their employees.

Now, most of the changes that they're going to see, most of them don't take effect until 2014, and that is something that obviously a lot of people will be looking at what has to happen heading out to the deadline.

Now, if you look at the now-passed reform that went through the House and Senate, what's going to happen is the states are going to have set up these small business health option programs called shop exchanges by 2014, and then these small businesses will be able to pool together to buy their insurance. And in case you're wondering, a small business is defined as 100 employees or less. If companies grow past that, they will be grandfathered in.

Now the Congressional Budget Office sees these exchange cutting insurance costs a bit. Premiums falling between 1 percent and 4 percent, while the amount of coverage would rise up to 3 percent.

Now until 2014, companies with ten or less employees and those people making $25,000 or less a year on average, they'll be eligible for a tax credit of 35 percent of health insurance costs, and any company in 2014 with workers -- more than 50 workers, they will have to pay a fine if they are not offering all of their full-time employees coverage. Right now it'll be $750 a year, but remember, there are some amendments that are going to go through the Senate. If those get passed, it will be up to $2,000 a year per full-time employee that these companies will have to pay a penalty for if they do not have coverage.

Also, they are going to have to meet a minimum standard of benefits they are offering employees. They can't just come out and say, you know, we offered you a brain scan and that's all you get. You have to offer a minimum level of service and then that will be considered OK to go forward -- Tony.

HARRIS: So the changes you have outlined there all take effect in 2014. Anything effective immediately?

ELAM: There are a few things. Most of the changes will effect 2014 for these small business companies, but there are two things in particular that are worth pointing out right now. One being, there is a ban on lifetime limits of coverage. You can't say, you know what, you have used up your lifetime amount of coverage. You're done. That can't happen.

Also, you can't cancel a policy on somebody now unless there is a case of fraud. That can't happen anymore either.

So for a lot of people out there, those are two things that will make it easier for them when it comes to getting health care in this country, Tony.

HARRIS: Stephanie, see you next hour. Thank you.

From health care to immigration reform, thousands march at the nation's capital and families' personal plea.


HARRIS: Checking top stories now.


PELOSI: The bill is passed.



HARRIS: House lawmakers pass an historic bill overnight to overhaul health care; final tally 219 for, 212 against. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the measure honors the nation's traditions.


PELOSI: We believe that this act that was passed tonight is an all-American act, honoring our founders vows to the future and honoring our commitment to the future by making it a healthier one and a fiscally sound one. Thirty-two million more Americans having access to health care, $1.3 trillion saved for the taxpayer, and accountability for the insurance companies so they cannot come between patients and their doctors.


HARRIS: The measure now awaits President Obama's signature and one more Senate vote, but not one House republican voted in favor of it. House Minority Leader John Boehner voicing his objections in a fiery string of rhetorical questions.


BOEHNER: Look at how this bill was written. Can you say it was done openly? With transparency and accountability? Without backroom deals and struck behind closed doors? Hidden from the people?

Hell, no, you can't!

Have you read the bill? Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager's amendment?

Hell, no, you haven't!


HARRIS: Rhetoric aside, we need to get down to the dollars and cents, find out what the new health care premiums will cost you. I will talk to senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.


TEXT: Historic Health Care Bill -- Extend insurance coverage to roughly 32 million additional Americans.

HARRIS: All right, I guess that's worth repeating. The health care bill extends coverage to 32 million Americans who do not have health insurance. How will this impact all of us? Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here to explain.

Elizabeth, good to see you. I got to tell you, with the new changes, who will be paying less and who will be paying more for health insurance?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, you can sort of think of our population as being divided roughly into thirds. OK, Tony? Think about it that way in terms of what's going to happen to our premiums.

So take a look at this. If you get insurance through your job, as many Americans do, what's going to happen to your premiums? Well, according to the Congressional Budget Office, they are going to stay about the same. OK, that's the first thing we have to remember there.

All right, now let's take a look here. If you get insurance on your own, you don't get it from your employer, and your income is over $88,000, then your premiums are likely going to go up. That's, again, according to the CBO. So that's a group that needs to take note.


COHEN: OK. Let's look at the third group. Folks who are getting insurance on their own, but their income level is less than $88,000, their premiums will likely go down because of all the built- in subsidies in this bill.


COHEN: So no one knows up by how much, down by how much, but this is sort of the direction things will likely go into.

HARRIS: In Massachusetts, when that state insured more people, is it true it made for longer waits to get an appointment? If that is true, do we think that's going to happen nationwide with the new plan?

COHEN: Yes, Tony. There have been analyses that showed once Massachusetts reformed its system that people had to wait an extra ten days in order to see their primary care physician. And obviously, ten days is quite a bit of time. So we asked a group of experts, is that going to happen here, and they were divided. Half said, oh, yes, this new reform means longer waits to see your doctor. And the other half said, we are not Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, they flipped a switch, the whole thing happened immediately. They said that's not going to happen here for a couple of reasons. One being that a the bill has $20 million for community health care centers. So when you spend that much money you're creating other opportunities for people to go besides your doctor's office. And here's something I think people ought to keep in mind, Tony. You and I talked a lot about how waits in emergency rooms are going up over the years because uninsured people use emergency rooms for primary care. Now with health care reform, hopefully that won't be happening. So while you may have to wait longer to see your doctor, hopefully waits in emergency rooms won't be as long. So you can think of it as a little bit of a trade-off there.

HARRIS: Can I sneak in one more quickly?

COHEN: Sure.

HARRIS: Look, we are talking about reform that is going to extend insurance to as many as 32 million more Americans. Do we have enough docs to take care of those additional people?

COHEN: Right. Well, that's why the new community-health-based clinics are going to be so useful. Because yes, you are bringing 32 million people into the regular system that many of us are lucky enough to have now. So if you build these clinics, the hope is that that will absorb some of these extra people.

HARRIS: Gotcha. Are you -- you wanted to add something?

COHEN: No, I wanted to add something, right.

The expenditures on the clinics -- I realize I may not have had the number exactly right, but it is a lot of money in order to bring in millions and millions of people.

HARRIS: Yes. Next hour, can we have you take on some questions from viewers?

COHEN: I'd love to. They have been tweeting me all morning.

HARRIS: Have they really?

COHEN: They have.

HARRIS: That's a plan. All right, Elizabeth, see you next hour.

COHEN: OK, thanks.

HARRIS: Thank you.

The stimulus act is having an effect on tax refunds if you take credit where credit is due. We will explain. That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: I need you to reach out to the program, talk to me directly. A couple ways you can do that. First of all, takes you directly to this -- bam -- our blog page. If you would like to send us your thoughts on Facebook, here's what you do -- TonyHarrisCNN. Here's my Twitter address -- TonyHarrisCNN. Pick up the phone -- 877-742-5760.

Let's have more of your thoughts on the program. CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris.


HARRIS: April 15th is less than a month away and if you haven't filed your taxes just yet, here's one reason to get moving. The IRS says tax refunds are much bigger this year. OK, I love the sound of that. Alison Kosik is in New York with details.

And, Alison, let's put some specifics on this. How much money should people be expecting here?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, nothing like a little extra cash in your pocket from your refund to get you moving to file early.

HARRIS: Love that.

KOSIK: Exactly. So listen to this, Tony, the average tax refund is nearly 10 percent higher than last year. And that's a nice little chunk of change, just over $3,000. Last year, refund checks were averaging around $2,700 apiece.

So I know you're wondering why the increase. I'll tell you it in one word, Tony, stimulus. The $787 billion Stimulus Act includes a lot of new credits that we can all take advantage of, Tony.

HARRIS: Yes. And here's the thing, since a lot of these tax credits are pretty new, some people might not be aware of them. So what are some of the credits that really are available this year?

KOSIK: Exactly. We went ahead and pulled a few out for you, listen to this.

One of the tax credits, it's called Making Work Pay. Now, most people should have been getting these all year in the form of a few extra bucks in your paycheck, but you really still should check and see that you got it.

The First Home Buyer Tax Credit is up to 8,000 bucks. Remember, it was expanded. You can also deduct some college expenses, and state and local taxes if you bought a new car last year. And here's a biggie for you, if you received unemployment benefits last year, up to $2,400 is tax-free.

Now, of course, there are some fine print in all this on each of these, so you want to check. The caveats are always there. Check out, and if you want more information.

All right, as for Wall Street stocks, they started out in negative territory today because of concerns about the health care bill and Greece's debt, but stocks have since turned around. Take a look, the Dow Industrials up 33, the Nasdaq higher by 13. It looks like health reform has kind of settled in to investors. HARRIS: Yes, kind of baked in the cake, isn't that terminology that you guys on the Street -- got you.

All right, Alison, appreciate it. Thank you.

Let's get to Rob Marciano at the Weather Center now.


HARRIS: Here's what we're working on for the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

A House approves a hotly contested overhaul of America's health care system. So where do we go from here?'s Jean Cummings and CNN political editor Mark Preston will weigh in.

Did you know House democrats attached an amendment to the health care bill that will overhaul the student loan industry? Our Stephanie Elam explains what will happen if it is approved by the Senate.

We are back in a moment.


HARRIS: Immigration reform, it is President Obama's next big battle. This weekend, thousands rallied in Washington in favor of change. CNN's Sandra Endo spoke with one family who says this is a very personal fight.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Honduran immigrant Santos Reyes holds onto a few photos of her 19-year-old son, Brian Gonzales. Gonzales is the youngest of her six kids.

SANTOS REYES, SON WAS DEPORTED (through translator): He's the type of person who loves to get involved and get in there.

ENDO: Gonzalez's mother says after he moved to Virginia from Honduras four years ago, her son quickly fell in love with the uniform.

REYES (through translator): His dream was actually to go to Iraq. It was like a dream for him to serve his country in that way.

ENDO: He was active in ROTC in school and wanted to become a pilot in the Air Force. But here's the catch -- Gonzalez was in the country illegally and would never be able to serve in the U.S. military. And in June, his mother says police stopped her son, discovered his status, and authorities eventually deported him.

REYES (through translator): I still haven't recovered from it. My son is the most special thing to me.

ENDO: Immigration advocates have been gearing up for months to take their message to Congress. They're urging lawmakers to create a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country.

But the conservative leaning Center for Immigration Studies says there is no easy solution to rein in illegal immigration.

STEVEN CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: It seems unlikely that rewarding people who have broken the law is going to discourage future lawbreaking. Now it is true that people argue, hey, we'll promise to enforce the law from now on, but again, there's enormous credibility gap there.

ENDO: As for Reyes, she wants Congress and President Obama to act for her son's sake.

REYES (through translator): I'm asking that we have solutions to this, and no more promises.

ENDO (on camera): There seems to be some hope that Congress will take up the issue this year. President Obama supports immigration reform, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated if a comprehensive bill can be worked out, it will be put on the legislative agenda.

Sandra Endo, CNN, Washington.