Speaker Nancy Pelosi couldn't get the votes for the "robust" public option she prefers, but she is ready to rollout a health care bill.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl has the story:
After weeks of intense, closed-door negotiations with House Democrats, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to unveil her health care bill tomorrow.
The roll-out is tentatively scheduled for 10:30 am on the West Front of the Capitol building. This is the bill the House will debate and vote on – probably next week.
According to sources familiar with Pelosi’s plans, here are some key elements of her bill:
- It includes a public option, but it will not be the Medicare-like public option she wanted. The government-run insurance company created by her bill would negotiate payment rates with health care providers just like private insurance companies. Pelosi simply could not get the votes to pass the “robust” version she prefers.
- The total cost is about $900 billion. The Congressional Budget Office is still crunching the numbers, a final number is expected tonight.
- The bill would cover an additional 35 to 36 million people by 2019; this is more than the Senate bill, which would cover an estimated 29 million additional people.
- There’s an individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance, although the penalties for non-compliance are lower than the Senate’s (which imposes a maximum fine of $1500 for families who forgo insurance).
- There’s an employer mandate. Companies who don’t offer health insurance will be slapped with an 8 percent fine (small businesses are exempt).
- The bill will be paid for, in part, with a 5.4 percent surtax imposed on those with incomes over $500,000 for individuals, $1 million for families.
- There’s a long list of insurance reforms: banning denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, mandating wellness and prevention coverage, capping out of pocket expenses and prohibiting caps on benefits.
Does she have the votes to pass it? “We sure hope so,” says a senior Democratic aide.