WASHINGTON. - A pivotal Senate committee has approved a sweeping remake of the country's health care system, delivering a long-sought boost to President Barack Obama's goal of expanding coverage.
The 14-9 vote in the Senate Finance Committee sets up a historic debate on the Senate floor and moves health care overhaul closer to reality than it has been for decades.
Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the only Republican to join 13 committee Democrats in voting "yes."
The 10-year, $829-billion plan approved Tuesday is aimed at extending coverage to millions more Americans, holding down costs and improving health care for all.
The bill includes initiatives authored by Senator, Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that include major initiatives to control costs and improve quality of care.
The Finance Committee was the last of five congressional committees to act. It produced a centrist-leaning compromise bill.
The committee is chaired by Montana Sen. Max Baucus.