Blue Dog Democrats are the biggest hurdle for getting the bill through the House, and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) said the bill fell short on cost-cutting. He said Blue Dogs are still uncomfortable with a public plan based on Medicare, although they are happy the proposal does not force doctors and other providers to participate. Ross said Blue Dogs continue to support the idea of including a trigger that would create a public plan only if private insurers fail to cut costs.
But the inclusion of a trigger is a nonstarter with Democratic chairmen and liberal Members, who have threatened to vote against any bill that does not include a robust public plan at the start.
Republicans, who released a four-page outline of their health care alternative Wednesday, ripped the plan minutes after it was released.
This plan is nothing less than a government takeover of health care, and families and small businesses who are already footing the bill for Washingtons reckless spending binge will not support it, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, said he feared tens of millions of Americans would lose their existing coverage under the Democratic plan and put the federal government in charge of determining what doctors and treatments are available to patients.
Camp said the new taxes would also cause the loss of millions of jobs.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.