The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which contains amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (No. 4, above), was passed one week after the Patient Protection Act. Among the key changes that H.R. 4872 made are the closure of the Medicare "donut hole" and the lowering of the penalty for not having insurance. This bill also reforms the student loan system, including among its many provisions the elimination of the program via which federal student loans were administered through private institutions. [See who gets the most from health professionals.]
10. Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213)
Previous ranking: 5
Sponsor: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
This bill, which President Obama signed into law on July 22, went through several versions and was known by several names, including the "American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act" and "Tax Extenders Act." In its final version, the bill extends unemployment benefits until the end of November 2010, and also includes a provision establishing retroactive payment of benefits to those whose benefits had recently expired. The bill was only passed after a partisan struggle in the Senate, where it was filibustered by Republicans who said they did not want to add the bill's $34 billion price tag to a budget deficit of over $1 trillion.