WASHINGTON - (AP) - In a victory for President Barack Obama, theDemocratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health carelegislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millionswho lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insuranceindustry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin a debateon the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to thepassage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

"It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offerseveryone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind thatcomes from knowing they will have access to affordable health carewhen they need it," said Rep. John Dingell, the 83-year-oldMichigan lawmaker who has introduced national health insurance inevery Congress since succeeding his father in 1955.