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Democrat Predicts Passage of House Health Reform Bill

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A historic health-care bill that has the support of highly influential groups, such as the AARP and the American Medical Association, is expected to have the 218 votes needed to pass a House vote on Saturday, according to second-ranking House Democrat Steny Hoyer.

He acknowledged that the vote could be close, and success depends on working out a few remaining sticking points, including language on abortion and illegal immigrants, the Associated Press reported.

"I wouldn't refer to it as a squeaker, but I think it's going to be close," Hoyer said. "This is a huge undertaking."

The bill would extend health coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and forbid insurers from refusing to provide coverage to people, the AP reported.

On Thursday, the bill received a major boost when the AARP, the powerful seniors' group, the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network all announced their support.

"The bill does improve quality, and it improves access," AARP Senior Policy Adviser John Rother told the AP. "When people hear this message from us, it will have impact."

The time to make health system reform a reality is now, AMA President J. James Rohack said in a news release.

While the House may pass the bill this weekend, the Senate isn't expected to vote on a health reform bill until early next year.

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