The Congressional Budget Office said a slate of legislative options shaped in the Senate Finance Committee could be priced under $1 trillion and expand coverage to 97% of Americans even while some Republicans expressed doubts.
We are much closer on scores from CBO, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said. In fact, CBO now tells us we have options that would enable us to write a $1 trillion bill fully paid for.
While a bill has yet to emerge from the committee, Baucus nevertheless said the number-crunching from CBO moves them closer toward a bipartisan agreement. Still, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a senior Republican on the Finance Committee, cautioned that the numbers could be premature and would likely change. You cant really make decisions until youve seen the language and seen the scoring, he said, referring to the CBO cost assessment.
The announcement follows a frantic couple of days in which key lawmakers have met behind closed doors in an effort to trim about $600 billion from a set of proposals that would be used to frame a broad bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system. It also comes as President Barack Obama continued to seek public support for reform, an effort that included a televised town hall meeting at the White House on Wednesday night.