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Senate passes historic, if diluted, health reform bill

WASHINGTON-- Senate Democrats on Thursday approved the best health care reform bill they could manage: a sweeping $871 billion proposal designed to extend coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and slow the growth of runaway costs. It was at once a monumental achievement, which if signed into law would represent the most expansive overhaul of the nation’s dysfunctional health care system in generations, and a disappointment to many liberals who’d hoped the reforms would go further to rein in the medical-services industries most responsible for the skyrocketing expenses.