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Updated: December 21, 2009 12:05 IST

US Health care bill clears key Senate test

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In this Dec. 16, 2009 photo, Robert Hansen sells copies of the street paper
AP In this Dec. 16, 2009 photo, Robert Hansen sells copies of the street paper "Real Change," outside a grocery store in Seattle's Seward Park neighborhood. Hansen and most other poor adults without young children don't qualify for Medicaid. The proposals in Congress would expand Medicaid coverage to people like Hansen. In the leading Senate proposal, people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level ($14,404 for an individual in 2009) could enroll in Medicaid. The House bill makes the cut-off 150 percent of the poverty level ($16,245 for an individual in 2009).

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 this week.

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.

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