Senate Healthcare Bill To Cost $849 Billion

Nov 19, 09 Senate Healthcare Bill To Cost $849 Billion
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Senator Harry Reid announced a potentially contentious healthcare bill that would cost $849 billion over ten years, while reducing the federal deficit by $127 billion.  In addition, the bill would extend healthcare benefits to approximately 31 million uninsured Americans.  Senator Reid stated that he believes that he is near the sixty votes needed to get the bill passed.

However, there are still some major challenges left before the bill comes up for a final vote.  There are still significant questions about whether the public option will be in the bill.  Senator Orrin Hatch is planning to revisit the issue of federally funded abortions during the amendment process.

Once these hurdles are cleared, the bill will have to further ironed out in conference.  Many Democrats and Republicans do not believe that healthcare reform legislation will be passed by the end of the year.  Advocates for and against acknowledge that the longer the process grinds out, the momentum for healthcare reform will dwindle.

Once the Congressional Budget Office analyzes the House and Senate versions of the bill, the battle lines will be drawn anew.  The CBO will assess whether or not either bill is either truly deficit neutral or actually reduces the deficit.  By making this a sticking point, Mr. Obama may have put himself into a tight corner that could potentially derail the legislation.  Either way, we wait and watch what has become a tedious and draining process drone onward.

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