Health reform bill should reduce federal deficit by $132B

Well, we have our horse made by committee. In a bill groaning with compromises made to hold together their coalition, Senate Democrats pushed through a health reform bill this weekend.

Among the key deals made to secure the crucial 60 votes needed were a package of concessions to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who got expanded Medicaid coverage for his home state and tighter restrictions on health plan coverage for abortions in return for his vote.

The bill also dropped some proposals strongly supported by liberals, including the public option health plan and a Medicare buy-in for some Americans younger than 65, as well as a provision that would have eliminated the federal antitrust exemption for health plans.

Regardless, the bill seems to meet some key financial goals. The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the bill won't drive up the deficit, despite spending $871 billion over 10 years to expand Medicaid and subsidize premiums for those who don't have affordable coverage options.

The bill gins up the money to cover these expenses by initiating $500 billion spending reductions, largely to Medicare, and implementing $400 billion in new taxes. All told, the current bill should reduce the federal deficit by $132 billion by 2019, the CBO projects.

To learn more the bill:
- read this Washington Post piece

Related Articles:
Senate reform loophole allows caps on payouts for some illnesses
Senate reform bill offers tax break for nonprofit health plans
Hospital finance impacted by hidden provisions of Senate health reform bill