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House Democrats seek to lower cost of their healthcare bill

Their plan is estimated below Obama's $900-billion price tag.

October 21, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are aiming to scale back the cost of their healthcare bill below President Obama's price tag by giving the government a strong hand in selling insurance in competition with the private market.

Obama has sought to spend no more than $900 billion over 10 years. The initial cost of the House bill was more than $1 trillion.

On Tuesday, House Democratic leaders received a new cost estimate of $871 billion from congressional budget umpires who measured a so-called public option for health insurance, according to a Democratic aide.

The figures were preliminary because no final decision on the design of the public plan had been made, said the aide, who requested anonymity because the deliberations were private.

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