Senate Finance Committee Approves Joint Health Care Bill

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, with the vote of a lone Republican, approved Chairman Max Baucus' $829 billion health care bill 14-9, kicking off what's expected to be a long and arduous path through Congress for final legislation.

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Sen. Olympia Snowe becomes first Republican to support a Dem health care bill.

"Let's enact real reform," Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., told fellow committee members. "Now is the time to act."

The Senate Finance panel, led by Chairman Max Baucus, becomes the last of five congressional panels to act on a health-overhaul bill, and it marks the biggest step forward yet for President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. The Baucus-proposed 10-year, $829 billion plan would require all Americans to purchase insurance and aims to hold down spiraling medical costs over the long term.

The legislation that passed the other House and Senate committees did so without a single Republican vote.