Health Care bill clears key Senate test

Washington, D.C. (AP & WSFA) - Landmark health care legislation backed by President Barack Obama has passed its sternest Senate test, overcoming Republican delaying tactics on a 60-40 vote that all but assures its passage by Christmas.

The bill would extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans who now lack it, while banning insurance company practices such as denial of benefits on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.

Under Senate rules, Democrats need 60 votes on three separate occasions to pass the measure. Monday morning's vote was the first.

Republicans including, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions say they're not going down without a fight. Senator Sessions said the plan is too costly for some state including Alabama

"I would ask that the same benefit that provides 100 percent funding to the state of Nebraska for their expanded medicaid program apply to the state of Alabama, " Sen. Sessions proclaimed on the Senate floor Monday morning.

Alabama's other Republican Senator Richard Shelby also voted no.

The House has already passed legislation, and attempts to work out a compromise are expected to begin in the days after Christmas.

The Senate bill calls for about 871-billion dollars in health care spending, the House version is roughly one trillion dollars.

Among other things both bills would eventually prevent insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

The Congressional Budget Office says the Senate bill would extend health coverage to over thirty-million Americans, and over ten years, would reduce the federal deficit by 132-billion dollars.