House Democrats have unveiled comprehensive healthcare legislation that aims to cover 96% of all Americans and “keeps costs under $900 billion,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The legislation, estimated to cost $894 billion over 10 years and cover an additional 36 million Americans, will “expand coverage and implement key insurance reforms,” establishing a new health insurance exchange that will include a public option and provide other benefits, such as ending discrimination for people with pre-existing conditions, said Pelosi, flanked by members of the Democratic Caucus on the steps of the Capitol Building.
Steep cuts to Medicare, along with a surtax on individuals with incomes of $500,000 or more and couples with incomes of $1 million or more, are expected to foot much of the bill's cost.
In the meantime, a separate bill addressing a fix to Medicare's troubled physician payment formula was released in tandem with the House health reform bill, a measure that was immediately criticized by the GOP. All members of the House are intent on fixing physician payments to Medicare, but to do so, “It ought to be paid for,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), referring to the bill's apparent lack of offsets.