House Moderates Put Forward Health Care Plan

Posted March 5, 2009 at 5:04pm

On a day when President Barack Obama is drawing national attention to the issue of health care reform, House moderates are charging ahead with their own bipartisan legislative plan that, they claim, will actually save billions in taxpayer money.

A motley crew of fiscally conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a health care proposal that would provide all Americans with “quality, private health insurance,— according to press materials. The bill would also be budget neutral by 2014, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

Bill sponsors include Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Mike Castle (R-Del.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.). They are touting the plan as a starting point for Congress.

“The Healthy Americans Act is bipartisan, it saves us money and it lets every American choose a plan with the same level of benefits I get as a member of Congress. Americans can’t wait for us to study the issue any longer. We should build off of this consensus bill and pass health reform now,— Cooper said in a statement.

Cooper, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, was a participant in today’s White House health care summit. He is also part of a health care task force announced today by the Blue Dog Coalition.

Specifics of the plan include portable health insurance, an emphasis on prevention and wellness, and reforms aimed at forcing insurers to compete on price, benefits and quality.

Bill sponsors say it pays for itself by cutting administrative costs and reforming parts of the tax code that gives businesses write-offs for expensive health plans. Individuals and families would also get a tax credit to purchase insurance and would be provided subsidies.