WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. House committee approved a compromise healthcare plan late Friday that would cost almost $1 trillion and guarantee insurance to most Americans.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce voted 31-28 to approve the bill, with five Democrats joining Republicans in voting against it, The New York Times reported. The vote shortly after 9 p.m. at the end of a hearing that began 11 hours earlier was the House's last action before the August recess.
The bill would force the insurance industry to change its underwriting practices. Insurers would be required to cover all applicants and barred from charging higher premiums to those with preexisting conditions.
Much of the cost would come from expansion of Medicaid and subsidies to ensure low-income people have coverage.
The bill was the result of negotiations between conservative Democrats, known as Blue Dogs, and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Despite the disagreement over the public health option, liberals joined Waxman and Blue Dog committee members in announcing the agreement, The Hill said.
"We will achieve affordable, quality healthcare," said Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Waxman's committee is the third and last House panel to complete work on health reform legislation moving through the chamber. Both Ways and Means and Education and Labor already passed similar bills.