Synopsis from wiki.
The Senate failed to take up debate on the House bill, instead utilizing H.R. 3590, a bill unrelated to healthcare already passed by the House, as the vehicle for their health care reform proposal, completely revising the content of the bill. This method was chosen rather than initiating a new bill in the Senate because the United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House. The original title of H.R. 3590, before it was converted to a healthcare bill, was the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009. Although unrelated to healthcare reform, this was a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill, as amended, incorporates elements of earlier proposals that had been reported favorably by the Health and Finance committees.
Passage in the Senate was temporarily blocked by a filibuster threat by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson who sided with Republican minority. Nelson's support for the bill was won after the bill was amended to offer a higher rate medicare reimbursement for the State of Nebraska, the compromise was derisively refered to as the Nebraska Compromise. On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, eliminating the possibility of a filibuster by opponents. The bill then passed by a vote of 60–39 on December 24, 2009, with one senator not voting. This was the first time the Senate had met on Christmas Eve since 1963 (for a debate relating to the Vietnam War), and the first roll call vote on the day since 1895.
The bill was then forwarded to the House of Representatives for debate. In the interim, on January 19, 2010, Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown was elected, giving the Republican minority enough votes to sustain a filibuster in the future. On February 25, President Obama unveiled a health care reform plan of his own, drawing largely from the Senate bill. On February 25, he held a meeting with leaders of both parties again urging passage of a reform bill.
The uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done?