House makes its move, Senate up next

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has acted. Now it's up to the Senate to hash out health care legislation. With near unanimous Republican opposition, the House passed the landmark overhaul that seeks to cover millions more Americans while ending some insurance industry practices.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says his chamber is "energized" after the pivotal vote, saying lawmakers "stand closer than ever to" overhauling health care.

President Barack Obama says he expects the Senate to act in the next few weeks and send him a bill before ringing in the New Year. He says he's "absolutely confident" the Senate will follow the House's lead. Republicans deride it as "a jobs-killing, tax-hiking, deficit-exploding" bill.

The House version of the bill includes a provision for the government to sell insurance. It would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide subsidies to those who can't afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)