CBO Says Finance Health Reform Outline is Affordable

By Caitlin Taylor

Jul 29, 2009 1:20pm

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports: Big news this afternoon from the Senate Finance Committee – Sen. Max Baucus told reporters today that a preliminary score of an outline of his bipartisan health proposal was scored very well by the nonpartisan CBO. He said the plan was predicted to: – cost less than $900 billion
- Lead to reductions in the deficit within 10 years (he said several billion dollars reduction that tenth year)
- Lead to 95 percent coverage of Americans. The group still has not announced a final deal, but this type of cost analysis is sure to move the debate forward (and to inform what happens in the internecine health reform cost battle that has beset Democrats in the House). Here's what Baucus said: We have some good news. Last night, we received a preliminary report from the Congressional Budget Office.  CBO has reviewed a draft of the health care reform bill we are currently negotiating. Keep in mind, the current draft does not include resolution of several key issues. Nevertheless, the report is encouraging.  The current draft of the bill scores below $900 billion over 10 years, covers 95% of all Americans by 2015, and is fully offset.   In fact, according to the preliminary CBO report, the bill would actually reduce the federal deficit in the 10th year by several billion dollars. In addition, employer-sponsored coverage increases throughout the life of the program.  There is no net crowd-out. This development will help us as we continue our discussions. The Senate Finance Committee talks have rejected a public health insurance option favored by the President and many Democrats in favor of setting up a system of non-profit co-ops to compete with the insurance industry. And they would seem to be rejecting a strict mandate that employers provide coverage to employees. The bipartisan negotiators return at 3:30pm EST and Democrats on the Committee will get a briefing on the CBO report at 4:30pm EST. It’s that second meeting that could prove most contentious today. Baucus and company will have their sales work cut out for them convincing liberals like Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, that a co-op format should take the place of a public plan.

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