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House releases health care reform bill

Leaders in the House of Representatives have released their comprehensive plan for reforming health care this week. The bill is a culmination of the work all three House committees have been doing to draft health reform legislation. The preliminary analysis conclude that it’s a huge step toward fixing health care and a major victory for all Americans who have been working for quality, affordable health care: In a statement, President Obama praised the proposal, saying it “will begin the process of fixing what’s broken about our health care system, reducing costs for all, building on what works and covering an estimated 97 percent of all Americans. And by emphasizing prevention and wellness, it will also help improve the quality of health care for every American.” Key elements of the legislation include federal subsidies for poorer individuals and families to help them afford coverage. In fact, financing would come from a federal surtax on the upper income – up to 5.4 percent on the income of taxpayers making more than $1 million a year — as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in projected Medicare and Medicaid spending. The new income tax on the wealthy is estimated to raise more than $500 billion over the next decade, and reductions in Medicaid and Medicare would account for nearly as much. Thoughts?

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