Lawmakers Seek Price Tag They Can Agree On
"Lawmakers working to overhaul the U.S. health-care system face a pressure-filled July after leaving town this week without resolving the biggest questions dividing Democrats and Republicans," Bloomberg reports. Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee which observers deem most likely to come up with a passable, bipartisan bill have been working to reduce the cost of the overhaul to gain Republican support, but had not yet released a proposal. Bloomberg adds: "While the Congressional Budget Office said options under consideration by the committee can keep the cost within Baucus's goal of $1 trillion over 10 years, how to pay for the plan remains unsettled. So is structuring some kind of government-run competition for insurers. ... 'Nothing has been set,' Montana Democrat [Max] Baucus told reporters in the Capitol on June 25. The recess offers a chance for 'taking stock,' he said" (Jensen and Livkin, 6/29).
Meanwhile, two leading Democrats who aren't members of Congress, former Obama transition chief and Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, and former Senate Majority Leader and Obama's former nominee for health secretary, Tom Daschle, "outlined a framework for financing a $1.2 trillion health care" over the next decade, enough to cover the expected costs of the reform bill, USA Today reports. The plan, released by Podesta's Center for American Progress, would raise $400 billion each from Medicare and Medicaid reductions, new taxes, and expected savings from modernizing the health system (Page, 6/29).
Daschle and Podesta also told reporters Monday that using "reconciliation," a Senate procedural tactic that could mute Republican opposition by preventing a filibuster, should remain on the table for Democrats, and that Senate Republicans were demanding too many sacrifices in their calls for a bipartisan compromise, the Associated Press/USA Today reports. "There is a point at which you have to move on," Podesta said (6/29).