The House plans to send over healthcare reform legislation to congressional actuaries with three possible ways of structuring a public insurance option, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced.
House to seek multiple estimates on public plan
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) has indicated that House leadership would be sending over a “full bill” to the Congressional Budget Office on Friday to determine its price tag.
Pelosi said a “robust” public option, where rates would be set based on Medicare plus 5% would be sent to the CBO for consideration, along with two other versions based on negotiated rates. “There's no question the robust option saves the most money, $110 billion” over 10 years, Pelosi told reporters. However, in fairness to those members who believe their districts would generate more savings from negotiated rates, that option is being considered as well, she added.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) seemed confident the forthcoming estimate “will show the House legislation is budget neutral,” but was elusive on how the bill would be paid for. “There's a long list” of options that are being considered to hold down costs, he told reporters.
Pelosi indicated that a windfall-profits tax on insurers was under consideration to help pay for the cost of the bill, an idea that was swiftly denounced by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“You tax the insurers, guess what—their customers are going to pay higher premiums to cover the cost of this tax,” he said during a news conference.
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