CBO Pegs Cost of Health Care Reform Package at $940B Over 10 Years
Democrats' health reform package, including the Senate reform bill (HR 3590) and the changes made to it in the House's so-called "corrections" bill, would cost $940 billion over 10 years and reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion, according to preliminary Congressional Budget Office data released on Thursday by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Washington Post reports (Klein, Washington Post, 3/18).
CBO also projected that the bill would lower the deficit over the second 10-year period by $1.2 trillion (O'Connor/Budoff Brown, Politico, 3/18).
The legislation would extend insurance coverage to 32 million uninsured U.S. residents, pushing the ratio of U.S. residents with health coverage to 95%, according to the data (Budoff Brown, "Live Pulse," Politico, 3/18).
Democratic aides said that the complete score report is expected to be released later on Thursday (Washington Post, 3/18).
Hoyer told reporters that with the release of the CBO score, House Democrats are "on track for a Sunday vote" (O'Connor/Budoff Brown, Politico, 3/18).
House Dems Debate Details of 'Corrections' Package
As of Wednesday, House Democrats remained locked in a debate over elements of their corrections bill, which would serve as the package of changes they want made to the Senate health bill, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Lawmakers negotiating the bill discussed last-minute concerns over the package's cost, language related to the implementation of a proposed excise tax on high-priced insurance plans and annual deficit-reduction figures (Werner, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/18).
Members also continued to discuss proposals for federal subsidies for the uninsured, Medicaid reimbursements to states and doctors and a proposed Medicare payroll tax for high-earning residents, although some Democrats refused to commit on the proposals until they received the CBO score, USA Today reports (Wolf/Kiely, USA Today, 3/18).
House Leadership Continues to Round Up 216 Votes
House leaders are continuing to work on securing the 216 votes required to pass the corrections bill this weekend, Politico reports (O'Connor, Politico, 3/17).
In November, the House voted 220-215 to pass its health reform bill (HR 3962). Of the 220 "yes" votes, 219 were Democrats. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the bill. Rep. Joseph Cao (La.), the only Republican to vote for the bill, has said that he will not vote with the Democrats on the final bill (Epstein, CQ Today, 3/17).
Two-hundred sixteen Democrats who voted for the House bill and 37 who voted against it remain from the November vote. According to Politico, it is highly likely that Pelosi could lose some "yes" votes, making passage dependent on how many "no" votes she can flip (Politico, 3/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.