CBO Report: Baucus Healthcare Reform Bill Could Cut the Deficit

Health Care RallyThe nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that the Senate Finance Committee healthcare reform bill would cost $829 billion over 10 years and reduce the deficit by $81 billion.  This report on the bill, which would cover 94 percent of Americans, could bolster President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform initiative.  As authored by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and amended by committee members, the bill would fulfill Obama’s preference for healthcare reform legislation that does not increase the deficit.

The Finance Committee is expected to vote on the plan, which does not include the public option that Obama and liberals want, next Tuesday.  Instead, the Baucus bill proposes a nonprofit cooperative as an alternative, an option that the CBO report noted was unlikely to attract significant enrollment or spend all the subsidies allocated to it.  All three House of Representatives committee bills include a public option, as does legislation passed by the Senate Health Committee.

Once the Democratic-controlled Finance Committee bill is approved, it will be merged with the Health Committee legislation and sent to the full Senate for debate later this month.  In the House of Representatives, Democrats are holding meetings to merge their three healthcare reform bills into a single one that could win the 218 votes necessary for passage.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the CBO news on costs is “irrelevant” because he believes that Democrats will pump up the Baucus bill to make it more expensive.

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