After reeling for weeks following a stunning Senate loss in Massachusetts, President Obama unveiled a new healthcare proposal Monday in an attempt to push reform through Congress. His proposal is a $1 Trillion 10-year healthcare plan sure to ignite furious debate and contentiousness in Congress once again.
The President's proposal seeks to find a middle-ground between the Senate and House bills past over the last several months by adopting and tweaking some aspects of each bill.
[Read full text of the President's proposal]
Some of the highlights of the bills are:
- No public option in the President's proposal;
- a "tax-increase for high-income taxpayers";
- an increase in the "percent of income assessment that individuals pay if they choose not to become insured";
- mentions the word "tax" 35 times throughout proposal;
- increased fees on brand name pharmaceuticals;
Examiner.com has also learned that controversial language that would be provide healthcare for abortions will remain in the President's proposal. This language is sure to once again divide Congress and may very well spell the end of healthcare reform.
Also, sources reveal that the White House announced that if Republicans filibuster the bill, Democrats will pass the bill through a process called "reconciliation." The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.
And a "simple majority" does not mean they need 51 Senators. The "nuclear option" the White House is now pushing, reconciliation, only requires the Obama administration to muster 50 votes before Vice President Joe Biden can cast a tie breaking vote in favor the legislation.
The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said: "Using reconciliation would be an acknowledgment that there is bipartisan opposition to their bill, another in a series of backroom deals, and the clearest signal yet that they've decided to completely ignore the American people."
The White House is calling the proposal an "opening bid" in advance of Thursday's well-publicized healthcare summit between Democrats and Republicans which some have branded as nothing more than a photo opportunity.
The Cincinnati area - as well as local political candidates - will be keeping a close eye on the healthcare reform process. As previously reported here, of all of the Cincinnati area's national elected officials, only Rep. Steve Driehaus voted in favor of health care reform as it passed though the House of Representatives. In polling conducted after that vote, Driehaus's numbers waned against his challenger Steve Chabot. Driehaus's standings in the polls have not recovered, as he continues to trail the Republican in the race for the 1st District.
- Dems. pass health care hurdle after buying Sen. Ben Nelson's vote
- Rasmussen: Support for health care reform falls to all-time low
- Sen. Landrieu flaunts purchased vote: "It's not $100 million; it's $300 million!"
- House passes healthcare bill 220-215
Follow Joshua on Twitter to stay up to date and subscribe at the top of the page for updates. Joshua is also the Cincinnati Crime Examiner and the Hamilton County 2010 Elections Examiner.