BREAKING: Senate Health Care Bill Revealed

Tonight, the Senate Democratic leadership revealed their version of the health care reform bill.

The Congressional Budget Office has already scored the legislation. Their findings:

  • It will cost $849 bn over the first decade.
  • It will reduce the deficit by $127 bn in the first decade and by $650 bn in the following decade.

Here are more details about the bill:

  • It contains the public option with a state-by-state opt-out provision.
  • It establishes health insurance exchanges.
  • It rejects the anti-choice Stupak amendment by stipulating that at least one plan in the health insurance exchange must offer abortion coverage and one plan must not.
  • It authorizes the HHS Secretary to audit those plans to ensure federal funds are not being used for abortion.
  • It taxes ‘Cadillac’ insurance plans but gives exceptions to high cost-of-living states and to workers in high-risk jobs, such as coal miners.
  • It will cover 94% of Americans, including 31 million of the currently-uninsured.
  • It achieves nearly $1 trillion in cost savings within the health care system.

It’s not a perfect piece of legislation, but considering the circumstances Harry Reid pretty much hit one out of the park here.

I expect the bill to do well–it contains significant health care reform but grants enough concessions to win over conservatives like Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu. And the fact that it reduces the deficit significantly over the next 20 years should win over the newly-minted deficit hawks like Joe Lieberman (who only seem to care about the debt when a Democrat is in office).

Reid is to file for cloture tomorrow, meaning that this bill could be brought up to a vote as early as Saturday.

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