Manuel Baice Ceneta/AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing the introduction of health care legislation
in Washington, July 14, 2009.

Congress Acts on Health Care Reform, as House Releases Bill

July 15, 2009 03:00 PM
by Jill Marcellus
As the Senate takes its first steps to pass health care legislation, the House hopes to vote this week on its own newly completed plan.

Sweeping Health Reform, Funded by New Taxes on Wealthy

Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared Tuesday a “happy day,” as the House finally unveiled its 1,018-page health care reform bill after months of delays and difficulties. Pelosi heralded the bill as a “health insurance act for the great middle class of America,” The New York Times reports, but news headlines focused on its proposed new taxes for the wealthy.

The New York Times translates these “surcharges” into actual numbers, explaining that, “Starting in 2011, a family making $500,000 would have to pay $1,500 in additional income tax to help subsidize coverage for the uninsured,” while the figure rises to $9,000 for a family making $1 million. 

The House is relying on the taxes, which would raise $544 billion over 10 years, to help meet their bill’s CBO-projected cost of $1 trillion over the next decade. Representatives hope to raise the remaining funds through savings in Medicare and Medicaid.

The director of the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill could expand health coverage to 37 million people currently uninsured, through provisions including individual and employer mandates, a health insurance exchange, and a public option, Reuters details.

The Senate bill, meanwhile, overcame its first hurdle Wednesday in its approval by the health committee, The Washington Post reports.

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