From the page: WASHINGTON - In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry.
The final vote was 220-215. Only one Republican - Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana - voted for the measure; 39 Democrats voted against it.
Obama praised the House in a statement and said he is "absolutely confident" that the Senate will pass its version of the legislation. "I look forward to signing it into law by the end of the year," he said.
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Passage was an exhilarating triumph for Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who earlier likened the bill to passage of the government's Social Security pension program in 1935 and Medicare health insurance for the elderly 30 years later.
But the Senate has yet to begin floor debate on its own version of insurance reform. That debate may be weeks away, with Senate Democratic leaders still negotiating over the details of their legislation.
If the Senate enacts its bill, conferees from House and Senate would then meet to negotiate a final compromise measure.
That compromise would then need to be voted on by the House and Senate.
So Democratic members from Republican-leaning districts who cast a difficult vote Saturday night for the House bill will face yet another tough vote in several weeks.
The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees. Both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates.
Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. In a further slap, the industry would lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price fixing and market allocation.
Unbelievable, USA are becoming a civilised country!!!