Senate Dems Shave $400B Off Health Care Bill

Plan charges employers who don't insure, has gov't option
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2009 8:26 AM CDT
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. moves a stack of documents comprising the health care reform bill and its amendments during a meeting last month.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Senate Democrats outlined a revised health care bill last night that lops $400 billion off the price tag of an earlier trillion-dollar proposal. The plan trims costs, the AP reports, by including a government-run insurance option to compete with private insurers and charging employers $750 annually for each employee not offered insurance through his job. The proceeds would be used to subsidize those who can't afford coverage.

The revised bill will extend coverage to around 97% of Americans—a higher percentage than the earlier bill—Sens. Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd write in a letter to Senate Health Committee members, obtained by the AP. The Congressional Budget Office has carefully reviewed our complete bill," write Dodd and Kennedy," and we are pleased to report that CBO has scored it at $611.4 billion over 10 years."