Today’s 411 on the health care debate

Here are some of the latest headlines on the health care debate.

Here are some of the latest headlines on the health care debate.

House Dem: Health Bill Risks ‘Disaster’
The House healthcare bill risks creating a "disaster," one Democratic lawmaker said, announcing his opposition to the legislation.

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) said he would oppose the House healthcare bill, saying he prefers health legislation more akin to the bill released in October by the Senate Finance Committee.

"I am a supporter of health care reform who believes that the House leadership's approach is not the best we can do," Davis said in a statement. "Because we risk a disaster if we get this wrong, I will vote no on the House legislation and continue to root for a final bill that fixes the holes in our health care system and contains soaring costs in both the private and public sectors."
Read more on The Hill
House Republicans Unveil 230-Page Health Reform Bill
The GOP proposal comes after Republicans spent months criticizing Democrats' health overhaul plans. It's much shorter and focuses on bringing down costs rather than extending coverage to nearly all Americans.
With House Democrats planning to bring health care legislation to a historic debate and vote by the end of the week, Republicans have produced a draft proposal of their own.
The GOP proposal comes after Republicans spent months criticizing Democrats' health overhaul plans. It's much shorter and focuses on bringing down costs rather than extending coverage to nearly all Americans.
A 230-page draft was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. A spokeswoman for Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said changes were still being made before the bill would be finalized in time to offer as an alternative when Democrats begin floor debate on their bill, possibly at the end of this week.
Read more on FOX News
GOP Health Bill Focuses on Lower Costs
The Republicans’ health care bill in the House focuses more on lowering costs than on expanding coverage, party leaders said Monday — setting up a stark divide between the GOP and Democrats who have made near universal coverage a top priority of their bills.
“Our substitute aims at driving down costs,” House Minority Leader John Boehner told reporters Monday. “If you drive down costs, you can expand access.”
Boehner hasn’t released the full details of the bill but has said that it would make it easier to buy insurance across state lines, impose strict limits on medical malpractice lawsuits and allow individuals and small businesses to pool their resources to buy insurance as a group. That is designed to boost their purchasing power to help lower individual premiums.
Read more on Politico
The True Costs of the House Health Bill: $1.5 Trillion
Nancy Pelosi has unveiled the new health care bill in the House after merging together three different versions of legislation. To appease moderate Blue Dog Democrats and to meet President Obama’s oft-stated promise that reform wouldn’t cost more than $900 billion in the first ten years, Speaker Pelosi sought to reduce the $1.5 trillion total cost of the bill. Newsflash: she failed.
The Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary score of the bill and while some in the media have been reporting its net cost of $894 billion, the total cost of health reform legislation is more like $1.5 trillion. So, Speaker Pelosi is essentially right back where she started—with a huge 2,000 page plan that carries a hefty price tag.
Read more on Heritage
Dems Split over Abortion Imperils Health Bill
While House leaders are moving toward a vote on health-care legislation by the end of the week, enough Democrats are threatening to oppose the measure over the issue of abortion to create a question about its passage.
House leaders were still negotiating Monday with the bloc of Democrats concerned about abortion provisions in the legislation, saying that they could lead to public funding of the procedure. After an evening meeting of top House Democrats, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) said, "We are making progress," but added that they had not reached an agreement.
The outcome of those talks could be crucial in deciding the fate of the health-care bill. Democrats need the vast majority of their caucus to back the bill, since nearly all congressional Republicans have said they will oppose the legislation.
Read more on the Washington Post
Abortion Funding in Health Care Could Derail Effort
The Washington Post is out with a story today about how the healthcare refomr bill could go down in flames in the House if the abortion funding language isn't changed.
Hey, Washington Post. I've been saying that now for a few months. Let me repeat it one more time: If The White House and Democratic leaders don't change the abortion language then they seriously run the risk of not getting healthcare reform through this year. Look, this is a numbers game. With all House Republicans set to vote against the bill, Nancy Pelosi can not afford 40 or so House Democrats to defect over the abortion issue. That may happen if something is not changed.
Read more on CBN News
Landrieu ‘Skeptical’ of Reid Health Care Plan
More trouble brewing for Harry Reid's public option, reports ABC's Z. Byron Wolf from Capitol Hill:
Another Democrat expressed grave reservations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s proposalfor a health care reform bill that includes acompromised public health insurance option which states could choose to “opt out” of.
And President Obama was set to meet in the oval office with a third Democrat skeptical of creating a public insurance option as the road to 60 votes for a health reform bill in the Senate became more difficult for Democratic leaders.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., told reporters today she remains “skeptical of what has been outlined” by the Majority Leader and has not decided whether she will vote with Democrats even to consider the bill on the Senate floor. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., has said he will vote to consider the bill, but will help Republicans filibuster it if the public option portion is not stripped on the Senate floor. Reid’s bill might not even get to the floor, however.
Read more on ABC News
Lieberman Denies Report of Secret Deal with Reid on Health Care Bill
A spokesman for Sen. Joe Lieberman refuted a report Tuesday that the Connecticut senator struck a secret deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid in which he promised not to block a final vote on health care reform.
The Hill newspaper reported Tuesday that Reid's staff told liberal interest groups that Lieberman had assured Reid that he will vote with Democrats in the procedural vote to end debate on the Senate's health care bill.
Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-Independent, announced last week that he would support a Republican filibuster of a health care bill that includes a government-run insurance plan, raising fears among Democrats that they will not have the 60 votes they need to move forward on the bill Reid unveiled last week.
Read more on FOX News
As Votes Near, Insurers Make Last Stand
When the insurance industry launched the first full-scale attack on key provisions of health reform, the Democrats’ response was swift, brutal and aimed squarely at Karen Ignagni, a former Democratic Capitol Hill aide who is now the industry’s top lobbyist.
“The insurance industry is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo,” President Barack Obama said during a weekly radio address. “They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions.”
A public presidential rebuke would intimidate many. But Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, held her ground — and may still achieve a win, as the health care debate on Capitol Hill is shifting toward the insurers’ major concern, controlling costs.
Read more on Politico
A Who’s Who of Health Care Reform
After months of committee work, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California are driving the debate on health care reform, but they are each relying on a cast of supporting actors.
If the Democratic leadership expects to pass the most far-reaching legislation in 40 years, it needs an assist from a bona fide deal maker such as Sen. Chuck Schumer and an emerging one such as Sen. Tom Carper. There are also wild cards, progressive loyalists, centrist doubters and 2010 targets who will each shape the health care bill.
Reid, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) have played outsize roles in shaping the legislation to this point, and they are likely to maintain their influence by managing the legislation on the floor later this month. In the House, Pelosi showed she could corral her disparate caucus and position Democrats to pass a bill as early as next week.  
Here’s a look at key players beyond the top tier:
Read more on Politico
Where do you stand in the health care debate? Let me know your thoughts.
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Neil Middleton
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