February 22nd, 2010
04:12 PM ET

White House unveils new compromise health care bill: “The President’s Proposal”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/24/obama.poll/art.obama.speech.gi.jpg caption="If enacted, Obama's plan will constitute the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees in 40 years."]


The Obama administration raised the stakes in the health care debate Monday, releasing a new blueprint that seeks to bridge the gap between measures passed by the Senate and House of Representatives last year.

If enacted, the president's sweeping compromise plan would constitute the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid over four decades ago.

Among other things, it would close the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole," increase federal subsidies to help people buy insurance, and give the federal government new authority to block excessive rate hikes by health insurance companies.

It increases the threshold - relative to the Senate bill - under which a tax on high-end health insurance plans would kick in.

President Barack Obama's plan does not include a government-run public health insurance option, an idea strongly backed by liberal Democrats but fiercely opposed by both Republicans and key Democratic moderates.

It also eliminates a deeply unpopular provision in the Senate bill worked in by Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, that exempts that state from paying increased Medicaid expenses.

Administration officials claimed the measure would cut the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years, but declined to provide a firm price tag for the plan. The bill approved by the Senate would cost an estimated $871 billion; the more expansive House plan has been estimated to cost over $1 trillion.

The release of the plan sets the stage for a critical televised health care summit with top congressional Republicans on Thursday. The White House is trying to pressure GOP leaders to present a detailed alternative proposal in advance of the meeting.

"We view this as the opening bid for the health meeting" on Thursday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters.

"We took our best shot at bridging the differences" between the House and Senate bills. "It is our hope the Republicans will come together around (their) plan and post it on-line" before the meeting.

Obama, he claimed, will come to Thursday's meeting "with an open mind." The president's willing to back decent Republican ideas if the two sides can have an "honest, open, substantive discussion" where "both parties can get off their talking points."

Republican leaders have indicated they will attend the meeting, but have repeatedly urged Democrats to scrap the Senate and House bills completely.

"Nearly one year ago, the president moderated a health care summit that kicked off a national debate that has led us to where we are today: a partisan bill devoid of support from the American people and a diminished faith in this government's capacity to listen," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Monday.

"Let's not make the same mistake twice."

–CNN's Dana Bash and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

Filed under: Dana Bash • Health Care • President Barack Obama
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. pansy

    "The conservative word of "NO" may turn against them. Americans may say "NO" during the next election because they are not listening to average Americans."

    February 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  2. Tammy Christine

    We are gettin it! Perfection, the goal..

    February 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  3. Katja in Florida

    $950 Billion. Penalties if you can't afford the insurance offered. Small, Mom and Pop businesses in America, just got the shaft again.
    It stunk before, and it still stinks, this is not the change we hoped for.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  4. Jonah

    The American people deserve an affordable health care plan

    February 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  5. Habte

    All the media is talking about is how gov't is broken without zooming in on what is causing it to look broken. GOPers with their minority status by about 10% in both houses are acting like they are the majority and this president and this majority congress is letting them with the msm scared to say anything about the obstructionist way of the GOP.

    Gopers continue to talk about how they think "the American people don't want the democrat’s health care fix" but didn't the American people vote these lawmakers into office not to long ago. These law makers and the president campaigned to do what they are attempting to do and even more. With that, the American people elected them and put them in the majority. Gopers are given a chance to add some of their items to this bill but they choose not to participate unless all of their proposals are accepted and unless all of the democrat’s plans are scrapped. How does this make any sense? Do they not have any shame? How can a party that is down by 9 members in the senate and by more then 50 in the house be so destructive? That is the question CNN should be asking.

    February 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  6. Locksley

    By taking the public option off the table, The President blinked and America is poorer for it.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  7. Saba Rahman

    Seems like the health care bill is not dead afterall.....!! The President has revived it. Hope the public interest prevails, after all is said and done.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  8. Tim Gibson

    How does one present an item for sale without a price tag. This is not a garage sale, and it is well past the time to move past the wasted time spent on health care reform as more important issues face our nation.

    I think a family is not as concerned about the loss of their health care plan as they are with the loss of their home, their jobs, their security and their future. Restore those things, then work on big words, big plans and big dreams. Building ones own individual part of history as a great leader will not be valid at the expense of the nation or the people.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  9. Mike, formerly from Syracuse, NY

    How is a 'compromise' between House Democrats and Senate Democrats ad compromise? Start over and do it right this time. We can't afford a trillion dollar health care plan.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm |