KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Main Features Of House Health Bill: Public Option, Pricetag of $894 Billion

News outlets detailed the House health care reform bill released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday. The Congressional Budget Office estimated its net cost to be $894 billion over 10 years.

The New York Times: "The bill is similar in size and scope to one taking shape in the Senate, where Democrats' control is more tenuous and the outcome less certain." The bill will leave 18 million people uninsured by 2019, the CBO said in its score of the bill. "None of the cost estimates of the bill included provisions to increase Medicare payments to doctors. Those provisions, which would cost more than $200 billion over 10 years, were put into a separate bill, also introduced Thursday" (Pear and Herszenhorn, 10/29).

Roll Call reports that the bill will cover 36 million more people at a cost of $1.055 trillion during the next decade, but will save the deficit by $104 billion over the next decade. "Pelosi (D-Calif.) had touted the bill as costing $894 billion when she released it online earlier in the day, but that number nets out $167 billion in new pay-or-play taxes on individuals and businesses. Pelosi's office had also said the bill would cut the deficit by $30 billion, but the CBO score came in much better" (Dennis, 10/29).

The Washington Post: Of the 36 million new insured: "About 15 million of the poorest children and adults would enroll in Medicaid. An additional 21 million would purchase coverage on a new national insurance exchange, where private plans would compete with a 'public option' backed by the federal government." Republicans derided the bill as 620 pages longer than President Bill Clinton's failed reform plan in the mid 1990s and warned of "higher taxes, job-killing employer mandates, choice-restricting individual mandates, government-run insurance, budget-busting entitlement expansion" and provisions that let government get between a person and their doctor (Murray and Montgomery, 10/30).

Politico has a timeline for the bill: "Party leaders would like to start debate on the bill next week and hope to have a final vote before Veteran's Day on Nov. 11." (O'Connor and Frates, 10/29).

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