October 13, 20009 - The Senate Finance Committee today approved the measure on a 14-9 vote in favor of a healthcare overhaul, gaining the support of an influential Republican.
The Committee, led by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., voted to expand insurance coverage to 29 million uninsured Americans, while reducing budget deficits by $81 billion over 10 years. The Democratic-controlled committee had won the support of Senator Olympia Snowe, the only Republican in Congress to back a healthcare reform bill. Snowe reportedly did so with reservations and does not guarantee continued support as the overhaul advances through Congress. Democrats need Snowe's support to hold the 60 senate votes needed as Democrats control exactly 60 seats in the 100-member Senate.
The proposal to reduce costs, regulate the insurance market and expand coverage was the last of five pending health bills to clear a committee in Congress. It will be merged with the Senate health panel's version and moved to the full Senate for debate in the next few weeks.
Republicans opposed the plan calling it costly and a government intrusion in the private healthcare sector.