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Health Care Reform

January 17, 2010 | By Kim Geiger
A look at some reader questions on insurance options that would be available under the House and Senate healthcare bills: My family's current policy costs more than $400 per month, which is not affordable for us. Will we be able to afford insurance under the healthcare bills? If you get your insurance through your employer, the bills would require that your share of the premiums not exceed a certain amount of your income -- 9.8% under the Senate plan, and 12% under the House proposal.
January 13, 2010 | By Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook
Facing an electorate more worried about jobs and the economy than healthcare, House and Senate Democrats have stepped up efforts to get a compromise bill to President Obama by the end of the month. "Healthcare: Get it over with," is the message Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said she got from voters in her economically ravaged district over the holiday recess. "Do it, but fix what's wrong with the bigger picture here." On Tuesday, House leaders gathered to discuss potential changes to the bill.
January 12, 2010 | By Peter Nicholas
Underscoring a rift in the Democratic political coalition, national labor leaders met with President Obama on Monday and raised objections to a proposed tax that they said would harm union members and cause a backlash in the November midterm election. Obama has come out in favor of the "Cadillac tax" that is part of the healthcare bill passed by the Senate. The tax, meant to help finance the healthcare overhaul, would apply to the most expensive insurance plans. The House has an alternative: a new surtax on single taxpayers making more than $500,000 a year and couples earning more than $1 million.
January 8, 2010 | By Duke Helfand
National healthcare legislation in Congress could slow the growth of medical costs, allowing employers to create 250,000 to 400,000 new jobs a year over the next decade, economists from Harvard University and USC are predicting. Wading into the hotly debated issue of whether the legislation is a job creator or a job killer, researchers from the two universities say that the reforms under consideration would slow the rate of cost increases and free up money for companies to raise wages and hire more workers.
January 5, 2010 | By James Oliphant
As congressional Democrats work toward a final healthcare bill, they appear increasingly likely to forgo the formal conference committee process for merging House and Senate versions of the legislation, opting instead for closely held negotiations between leaders from the two chambers. Under that scenario, aides said, the House would take up and amend the Senate bill before sending it back for a vote. In theory, the Senate could amend the new version and send it back to the House, triggering another round in a process sometimes called ping-ponging.
January 3, 2010 | By James Oliphant
The Senate passed its version of the healthcare overhaul on Christmas Eve. Here are some questions about what's next as the legislation continues to work its way through Congress: What's going to happen this month? The Senate's healthcare legislation must now be merged with the House version -- and that could be tricky. Senate and House negotiators could choose to meet in a formal conference committee to work out the differences or instead work out a deal in a looser, give-and-take fashion.
December 24, 2009 | By Janet Hook
The drive to enact President Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul entered its final phase with today's passage of the Senate bill, but hardened differences with the House -- over abortion, taxes and the government's role in the insurance market -- remain to be resolved. While Congress will not reconvene until mid-January, efforts to reconcile the two versions of the bill are underway on an informal level, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said they would continue next week.
December 24, 2009 | By James Oliphant
With Senate Democrats poised to pass a sweeping overhaul of the nation's healthcare system today, Republicans sought to frame the bill as a tarnished product of backroom deals, with some going so far as to declare it illegal. With final approval of the bill all but certain, Republicans on Wednesday focused on diminishing it in the eyes of the public. In particular, GOP senators questioned a deal struck by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who agreed to support the legislation in part because a provision was added exempting his state from paying part of the cost of expanding the Medicaid program.
December 23, 2009 | By Janet Hook
As the Senate lumbers toward passage of its healthcare bill, Democrats are looking ahead to the potentially difficult process of reconciling its substantial differences with the more liberal House version -- the last major obstacle before President Obama can sign landmark legislation into law. The final Senate vote on the healthcare bill was set for 8 a.m. Thursday, Christmas Eve, as Republicans held the floor Tuesday to criticize the measure and...
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