“The Democrats are refusing to reveal the price tag of this bill or how they will pay for it, but it is obvious it will cost well over $1 trillion,” said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. “We will certainly need to examine the details, but I fear this plan will force tens of millions of Americans to lose their current health care coverage.”
Industry and advocacy groups were split. The insurance industry said it is concerned about the public plan, while AARP praised it as a good first step.
The three committees - Ways and Means, Education and Labor, and Energy and Commerce - are expected to begin hearings next week to hammer out the details. If the bill passes the House, it would have to be merged with the Senate bill.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, one of two Senate panels working on health care legislation, ended its third day of debate over its bill at noon Friday, again beset by partisan gridlock.
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, acting chairman in Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s absence, warned he is not going to be taken advantage of as Republicans loaded the bill - only one-third complete - with more than 300 amendments to be discussed.
Sen. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, ranking Republican on the committee, complained that the minority party was been left out of the drafting process.
The Senate Finance Committee, working on a bill of its own, is expected to debate its legislation after the Fourth of July recess. It is trying to pare the cost of its bill to $1 trillion.
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