Final Senate Committee Passes Health Bill

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines to approve a revised health care bill Tuesday with only one Republican, Olympia Snowe of Maine, joining the Democrats on a 14-9 vote. The bill has no public option.




     The Finance Committee is the last of five to consider a version of the health care legislation, and the different versions must now be combined, promising intense debate on the House and Senate floors.
     In the Senate, Democrats have a filibuster-proof, 60-member majority.
     The bill voted out of committee would mandate that almost all Americans buy insurance, but would provide subsidies to millions of Americans.
     It would also ban insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
     The Congressional Budget Office determined that the bill passed by the finance committee would reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 29 million over the next 10 years.
     It also predicted that the legislation would cost $829 billion over a 10 year period, which would be offset by tax increases, fees, and restrictions of Medicare expenditures. But the budget office also concluded that the legislation would reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion over the same period.
     During the weeks that the committee has marked up the bill, Democrats argued that the legislation would ultimately help the economy, while Republicans have asserted that it would add to already skyrocketing government debt.

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