In Retreat, Obama Weighs Scaled-Back Health Options

Modest coverage, cost reforms now on horizon
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2010 7:31 AM CST
President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, during an event honoring National Mentoring Month.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – President Obama, chastened by the voter revolt that cost the Democrats their 60th vote in the Senate, is ready to seriously pare down health care reform in an effort to salvage at least some of it. "I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements in the package that people agree on," he told ABC News, outlining features that had broad support, not including the attempt to cover most uninsured Americans.

Scaled-back reform would likely limit insurers' power to deny coverage to people with medical problems, let young adults stay on their parents' policies longer, and help small businesses and low-income people pay premiums, CBS reports. Dropping the mandate to require everyone to buy insurance, with subsidies for the uninsured, would dramatically reduce the cost of the bill, making it more palatable to conservatives, but insurers tell the Wall Street Journal that without the mandate, premiums would likely rise.

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