Now That It's Passed: What You Need to Know About the Senate Health Care Bill

While the legislation has cleared the first hurdle, debate is far from over.

ByABC News
December 24, 2009, 3:18 PM

Dec. 25, 2009— -- Now that the Senate's $871 billion health care overhaul bill has passed, many may still have questions about the exact nature of the bill -- and how it may affect their health choices in the decade to come.

To learn more, the ABC News Medical Unit reached out to some of the nation's top experts in health care policy. More than a dozen replied. Below are some of their comments on the Senate bill, its potential impact and how it differs from the House bill.

Health reform proponents overwhelmingly spoke out in favor of the bill – though some noted that more remains to be done.

"It's a start," said Donald Kemper, chairman and CEO of Healthwise Incorporated. "It focuses on reducing the inequities, and that's not a bad place to start."

Karen Davis, president of the health care reform group the Commonwealth Fund, called the bill "another milestone on the way to historic and significant changes to the U.S. health care system."

The Senate's passage of the bill had its share of industry support as well.

"We applaud the Senate for taking an important and historic step toward expanding high-quality, affordable health care coverage and services to tens of millions of Americans, many of whom are struggling today financially," said the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in a statement.

But not all were in favor of the bill.

"For the first time in our history, the federal government will tell you what type of insurance you have to have and – effectively -- where you will get it and even what price you have to pay," said John Goodman of the conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis.