The US House of Representatives narrowly approved a landmark health care bill aimed at guaranteeing coverage to almost all Americans and placing new curbs on the insurance industry, giving a boost to President Barack Obama who made intense efforts to clinch the victory.

The H.R. 3962 bill or the Affordable Health Care for America Act was passed by a vote of 220-215, paving the way for it to be taken for debate in the 100-member Senate where it needs 60 votes for its passage.

The 10-year, trillion-dollar plan is aimed at extending health coverage to 36 million Americans who lack it now and preventing the insurance industry from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and charging higher premiums.

”... in a historic vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would finally make real the promise of quality, affordable health care for the American people,” Mr. Obama said after the passage of the bill.

In a statement, the President said the legislation will reduce long-term federal deficit and strengthen the financial health of Medicare, a publicly-funded health insurance system implemented 40 years ago.

”... we are just two steps away from achieving health insurance reform in America. Now the United States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will, and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year,” Mr. Obama said.