Obama Unveils $950B Health Care Bill

Merged proposal mostly follows Senate outline
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2010 10:15 AM CST
Obama Unveils $950B Health Care Bill
President Barack Obama speaks to Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010.   (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Barack Obama today revealed the health care proposal he’ll be taking into bipartisan meetings this week, a $950 billion bill that hews closer to the Senate’s model than the House’s. The plan seeks to resolve some of the contentious issues between the two bills, cutting, for example, the special Medicaid deal Ben Nelson negotiated for Nebraska. The White House is signaling its readiness to incorporate Republican proposals, but made clear their demand to start from scratch was off the table.

It keeps the controversial tax on high-end insurance plans, but delays it until 2018. To pay for that delay, Obama’s included other taxes, cuts on Medicare spending, and increased penalties for companies and individuals who don’t buy insurance. Like the Senate bill, Obama’s plan eschews a public option, trusting instead to state health insurance exchanges overseen by the federal government. But in a concession to House lawmakers, it increases subsidies to help those with low or middle incomes buy insurance. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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