WASHINGTON -The Senate has passed President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul extending medical insurance to 30 million Americans. The bill requires nearly all Americans to buy insurance and forbids insurance companies from denying coverage based on patients' pre-existing conditions.
The 60-39 vote on a cold Christmas Eve morning capped months of arduous negotiations — and a succession of failures by past congresses to get to this point. Vice President Joe Biden presided as 58 Democrats and two independents voted "yes." Republicans unanimously voted "no."
The Senate's bill must still be merged with legislation passed by the House before Obama could sign a final bill in the new year.