House and Senate Move Closer to Health Care Reform

July 29 - Both the House and Senate announced today that influential legislators had helped negotiate compromises aimed at pushing health care reform through congress. Arkansan Mike Ross, a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, announced that four Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee had struck a tentative deal for a House health care bill costing under $1 trillion over the next ten years. Although no vote is scheduled to take place on any bill until the House reconvenes from its August recess in September, the new compromise makes passage of health care reform one step closer. The bill would create a government run health insurance company, and put limits on employer penalties, in addition to saving the House over $100 billion.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus also outlined a Senate proposal for health care reform. Baucus claimed today that the new $900 billion bill would receive bipartisan support from the Finance Committee and would actually save the federal government money in the tenth year of the legislation. While no specifics of the draft bill were given, it's doubtful that the Senate will incorporate the government insurance program into its bill. Baucus did say however that the new bill would cover 95% of Americans by 2015.