In the end, it came down to do a margin of just seven votes – as close a finish as any March Madness game.

After a raucous and theatrical day of debate, the House voted tonight 219 to 212 to approve a long-awaited health care reform package, handing President Barack Obama the biggest victory of his young administration. As expected, not one Republican supported the bill. North Coast Congressional Representatives Lynn Woolsey and Mike Thompson both voted in favor of it.

The big question now is how will it be received by the public and how big a price will Democrats pay at the polls during this year’s mid-term elections?

This historic vote opens the door for more than 30 million Americans to get health insurance. It also will stop the practice of many people being refused coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

But it will come at a cost. Among other things, the bill depends on a tax on health plans for the wealthiest Americans and a$500 billion reduction in Medicare spending.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said tonight that  “This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country.”

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio earlier said, “We have failed to listen to America, and we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents.”

Who is more right?

– Paul Gullixson