CBO Lowers Healthcare Price Estimate

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CBO lowers healthcare price estimate In a decision that is likely to please Democrats, the Congressional Budget Office has said the healthcare reform bill presented by the Senate Finance Committee will cost $829 billion over the next 10 years.

The estimate is lower than the $900 billion originally projected by the Democratic authors of the bill.

CBO also said the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion and expand coverage to 94 percent of eligible Americans.

While the White House welcomed the assessment, many Republicans sought to draw attention to the fact that it glosses over the "hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes and fees" that the bill makes provisions for, and that Republicans believe will increase the cost of health insurance premiums.

Still, Senate Democrats are reportedly relieved as the estimate may help them enlist the support of the fiscally conservative members of their party, known as the Blue Dog Democrats, who have thus far been reluctant to back the bill.

However, a public health insurance option remains the most controversial aspect of the proposed reform, with the Republicans as well as conservative Democrats opposing it.

The debate on the proposals in the full House and Senate is expected to start next week.

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