February 25th, 2009
04:36 PM ET
6 years ago

Budget will include $634 billion health care reserve fund

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two White House officials tell CNN that the budget to be released Thursday will include a $634 billion health care “reserve fund” designed to help pay the costs of overhauling the health care system over the next ten years.

One of the officials says the administration sees health care as the biggest driver of and linchpin to fiscal health, and the fund is a down payment on the effort to reform health care. Money for the reserve fund would come from limiting tax breaks for the wealthy and tightening payments to insurers, hospitals and physicians.

In an interview Tuesday, OMB Director Peter Orszag told CNN he believes a massive overhaul of the health care system can be achieved this year and he said he believes it should be “universal coverage."

“We're going to try to avoid the mistakes of the past and not lay down a fully detailed plan, rather work costructively with Congress, “ Orszag said.

(Updated 7 p.m. with updated dollar figure)


Filed under: Health care • Obama administration
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. arithmetic is liberal

    I'll settle for the US Congress' healthcare package, thankyouverymuch.

    February 25, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Hammer

    Another bill that Obama wants the billions, but he is not going to decide were it is going until after the money is appropriated.
    Some of that trust he is talking about. Just give him the money and trust him to spend it wisely.
    What a crock!

    February 25, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Big Al

    Billion here, a trillion there. You know the rest. Unparalleled taxes for the achievers of this country. A free ride for the "victims".

    February 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. steve

    This is what happen when a national party follows the matching order of a hate-filled talker; Rush Limbaugh.
    First he forced John Mccain's campaign to pick Sarah Palin for the vp position, it turned out badly,
    He recommended Bobby Jindal to give the Rebuttal speech for the President of the US, it bombed and crashed.
    Republicans, get off the Rush Limbaugh grip, he is destroying your party with you knowing it.

    February 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Sooke Gill

    I mean $646 Billion, not Million USD.

    February 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Muahahahahaha...enter GOP stage left, foaming at the mouth....

    February 25, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. yuri

    Our rambunctious republican rambos will raise hue and cry, everytime a Dem's program pours into the public. We are greedy for a monumental opinion from McCain, however.

    February 25, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Socialism blah blah marxism grumble grumble communism blabber blabber fear fear fear blah blah we wouldn't even stand up and applaud SCHIP during Obama's speach last night, even though it requires both parents to be working full time before they get benefits blah blah grumble grumble we're a bunch of crybaby tantrum throwers robble robble

    February 25, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. bob in LA

    You want a quick fix to the healthcare issue? Cancel all congessional healthcare, make them go out in the free market and get their own and watch all those old guys get a rude awakening to what its like out here...for us other old guys!

    February 25, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Sam Sixpack

    Insurance causes unaffordable healthcare.

    February 25, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Please

    We need Universal Healthcare!

    I am a single woman in my fifties, and have worked hard all of my life. Last year I was diagnosed with a large cancerous tumor in my abdomen. I was in the hospital for a week. My employer provided healthcare ended mid-way through my hospital stay, and shortly after I returned home, my employer terminated me. There was no COBRA option because the company had under 20 workers. I am now on social security disability (roughly $1,500 per month).

    Unfortunately, I am caught in a tug of war between the state and federal government. I was told that, in order to continue receiving medicaid, any income over $637 per month is considered 'excess income', and must be paid out for medical coverage. This is referred to as a 'spend-down'. So, since my rent, utilities, food, etc. FAR surpass $637/month, I, effectively, have no healthcare coverage. Even on disability, I am ineligible for medicare for 24 months. The only treatment for my type of cancer is to be monitored every few months with CT scan, bloodwork, and other tests.

    I had absolutely no idea how broken the healthcare system was until I really needed it. So called 'affordable healthcare' is a myth. When something like this happens, there is no such thing as affordable. There is a fixed income, and a pre-existing condition. I want to live. I want to regain my health, get off of disability and continue contributing to society. Please, please support universal healthcare.

    February 25, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Mari

    Excellent. Right now, the #1 reason for bankruptcy is the cost of healthcare! Which should be the RIGHT of ALL Americans!

    Do not listen to the fear-monger-and-liars who will attempt to convince you that you will lose your choice! IF you have healthcare and are happy with it, then you WILL KEEP IT!

    What I can never understand, is how the far-right-holier-than-thou-pro-life people are so death set against National Healthcare! When the LIVES of our citizens are at stake! The GOP-and-the-so-called-pro-life president, DENIED healthcare to ELEVEN MILLION children, of working-class families!

    I volunteer & help the poor, and due to this recession more and more working-class families are in deep trouble, with NO healthcare working for the minimum wage. HOW CAN YOU CLAIM TO BE PRO-LIFE AND DENY YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS HEALTHCARE? Hypocrites.

    February 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. no corporate politics

    Obama promised Pay-As-You -Go. So where is this money coming from? Or this another lie?

    February 25, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Sam Sixpack

    Please don't give the money to insurance companies!

    February 25, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Please

    Please include my comment, CNN.

    I am a single woman in my fifties, and have worked hard all of my life. Last year I was diagnosed with a large cancerous tumor in my abdomen. I was in the hospital for a week. My employer provided healthcare ended mid-way through my hospital stay, and shortly after I returned home, my employer terminated me. There was no COBRA option because the company had under 20 workers. I am now on social security disability (roughly $1,500 per month).

    Unfortunately, I am caught in a tug of war between the state and federal government. I was told that, in order to continue receiving medicaid, any income over $637 per month is considered 'excess income', and must be paid out for medical coverage. This is referred to as a 'spend-down'. So, since my rent, utilities, food, etc. FAR surpass $637/month, I, effectively, have no healthcare coverage. Even on disability, I am ineligible for medicare for 24 months. The only treatment for my type of cancer is to be monitored every few months with CT scan, bloodwork, and other tests.

    I had absolutely no idea how broken the healthcare system was until I really needed it. So called 'affordable healthcare' is a myth. When something like this happens, there is no such thing as affordable. There is a fixed income, and a pre-existing condition. I want to live. I want to regain my health, get off of disability and continue contributing to society. Please, please support universal healthcare.

    February 25, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. YBM

    For all the non-listening, non-thinking sheeple out there,,,,,where do you think the money to pay back all these "stimulus' packages is going to come from,,,,,hmmmmm???? Health care where the insurance company can tell you, "sorry, you don't have enough useful life left so you can't have the surgery, medicine, procedure, whatever."

    Soylent Green, anyone??????

    You think we are hurting now??? Just wait until the bill comes due, so much for the "95% of Americans won't pay higher taxes (rather, will get a tax cut, as he said during the election). It will be a tax increase in some form, gas tax, road tax, VAT, sales tax or something, it might just not be an income tax so he can keep his "campaign promise".

    The antichrist is sending this country to he!! in a handbasket in a big hurry, or at least the same way as the roman empire went. Well maybe he is not the antichrist, maybe he just has a piece of the spear of destiny like hitler had.

    February 25, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Al, California

    Obama gets A+ for his program and his yesterday speech. Jindal gets W- for his response.

    February 25, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. Lester from Huntsville, Alabama

    The economic crisis started with the housing foreclosure crisis or at least that's what I've been able to assertain from all the pondits and economic advisors these past few months. I believe it should end there aswell. So many people complain about the state of our national (now global) financial markets without putting forth any real ideas about how to fix it. This leads only to despair. I have a real idea that I hope finds its way up to President Obama and maybe he will consider it as a viable option. You have all heard of food stamps....where recipients have to qualify for the aid and it can only be spent on food. What if you had "Mortgage Stamps" with a 5 year moratorium to keep it from becoming a perpetual government program. The people would have to qualify for the aid and could get it only if they are in foreclosure already or about to go into it. The money would go directly to the core of the problem. It would not be handed out to top company executives with the danger of being mismanaged but would find its way directly into the hands of those that need it. The banks would still benefit because they would get the government back "stamps" from the people and thus help bring an end to many of the toxic assets they now have. This would also help the people affected mostly by these harsh economic times stay in there homes. Its a win win. This would stop us from having to invest 700,000,000,000 here and 800,000,000,000 there. This should have been done from the beginning and it would have only cost a fraction of what has already been spent and we would be well on our way to digging ourselves out of this crisis. HUD could have been delegated authority to administer this aid thus utilizing an existing structure limiting bureaucracy. Please pass this idea on to President Obama and lets help our President save the world.

    February 25, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. FJ from Atlanta

    A man that keeps his promises!

    If President Obama somehow accomplishes all the promises he made during his campaign , he will go down as the greatest president since Lincoln.

    Regardless if you a democrat or republican, all must give him the credit for fulfiling all the promises.

    February 25, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. I'm more concerned about how the middle class is being forgotten

    paying your bills doesn't mean squat in the U.S. anymore

    February 25, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. carrosel5

    I don’t see this Stimulus helping anyone but the BIG BANKS. What company is going to lend money to someone in foreclose and better yet what makes you think! Even if they did, how will people pay it back? Hello if they could pay it in the first place they would not need another loan. Okay say the bank lends the money then what happens to the person if they are unable to pay it back? WHY? You ask because they still don’t have a JOB. Then the person is SOL, because the bank will say we helped you already. You have to have money to pay your bills and you get money from working. There are no jobs and if you do find one you will not make enough to support your family and pay bills. Come on! You will help with foreclosure and then what?

    There are just over 310,000,000 Million people in this country. Why can’t the government give the money to us, and I don’t mean 1500.00 that was a joke. Let’s say the President gave everyone 18yrs and older 50,000 dollars it would total 155 million give or take a few thousand. We the People would use it to pay bills, buy a car or a house, and maybe reinvest in the Stocks. Wouldn’t that be cheaper than over 750,000,000,000 billion he will be spending now. I would like to be able to benefit from my taxes like the Big Companies do, But seriously I would just like to pay my bills and not some BIG BANK’S BILLS and WALL STREET.

    February 25, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. JL

    Yes! I only hope it comes before too many more people lose everything trying to save a loved one. I've been there and it isn't fun. It took 5 years to half rebuild our lives. I will never ever ever ever complain about healthcare reform again.

    February 25, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Please

    I am a single woman in my fifties, and have worked hard all of my life. Last year I was diagnosed with a large cancerous tumor in my abdomen. I was in the hospital for a week. My employer provided healthcare ended mid-way through my hospital stay, and shortly after I returned home, my employer terminated me. There was no COBRA option because the company had under 20 workers. I am now on social security disability (roughly $1,500 per month).

    Unfortunately, I am caught in a tug of war between the state and federal government. I was told that, in order to continue receiving medicaid, any income over $637 per month is considered 'excess income', and must be paid out for medical coverage. This is referred to as a 'spend-down'. So, since my rent, utilities, food, etc. FAR surpass $637/month, I, effectively, have no healthcare coverage. Even on disability, I am ineligible for medicare for 24 months. The only treatment for my type of cancer is to be monitored every few months with CT scan, bloodwork, and other tests.

    I had absolutely no idea how broken the healthcare system was until I really needed it. So called 'affordable healthcare' is a myth. When something like this happens, there is no such thing as affordable. There is a fixed income, and a pre-existing condition. I want to live. I want to regain my health, get off of disability and continue contributing to society. Please, please support universal healthcare.

    February 25, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Republican are ankle biters

    Great.

    February 25, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. HelloooOOOOO

    Goode luck "limiting tax breaks on the wealthy" ! Repubs already are bucking Pres Obama on just about everything, they sure will on this ! otherwise, I hope it passes, for the sake of my family, yours and all of America..all those in congress and senate should STOP getting the health care they "recieve" until all in America can too...!!

    February 25, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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