February 25th, 2009
04:36 PM ET
9 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. Jeanne

    Big Big mistake. Government run health care by these criminals ought to be just peachy.

    February 25, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Brian

    $646 Billion and it is NOT a detailed plan. This is Fiscal Responsibility? Is this guy arrogant or ignorant? Or does who just assume we all can not pay for anything any more. I hear a toilet flushing my money down the toilet along with the quality of health care. 47 months and counting!

    February 25, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Mike in Houston

    Let's see:

    $800 billion spending bill
    $646 billion nationalized health care bill
    $400 billion budget spending

    Total of $1.8 TRILLION spent or committed in less than 30 days. George Bush couldn't have spent this even on his best day.

    Change We Can Belive In but Can't Live With.

    February 25, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. JB

    Wonderful, now watch the markets crumble tomorrow. I like Obama but everytime he opens his mouth the markets tumble. He needs to stop treating this job as a marketing opportunity to show how well he reads a teleprompter. Disappear and start doing something, please.

    February 25, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Allison

    I missed the speech, I was working late. But I did hear that Obama and his writers did very well.
    Did he mention that much of the housing bubble could have been avoided and a good portion of the deficit paid off if we were taxing the gains, the profits, on the sale of people's homes? When a home appreciated $200,000 in California or Florida and was sold tax free on a move to Texas, Utah, New Mexico etc. they brought cash to spend and that drove up home prices. The local builders made huge profits with those cash laden shoppers from housing bubble states and local buyers could not compete for those new homes. Now the market has crashed and the locals who did not profit from the bubble will pay for those mistakes with increased federal taxes.

    Taxing the profit on the sale of homes should at least contribute to paying for this bailout and deficit spending just as it had a role in creating the real estate bubble!

    Should those that benefited pay more for the consequences or should everyone pay equally?

    February 25, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. ray

    wowo the republicans spent over one trillion dollars in iraq on an illegal war and it's ok, wowo, now they are crying out on spending less money on americans to take care of them, . wowo. are these obstructionist for real? these racists on the right should all burn in hell soon. i wish it was now so i can hear them all screammmmmmmmmmmmm.

    February 25, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. MyStory

    CNN – I keep trying to comment on this article and nothing is appearing. Please post my comment. Thank you.

    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 and it is my ONLY income).

    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 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Chad

    So the government is trying to control our health care. Interesting, so basically this is a middle finger to the hundreds of thousands of people that work in the health care industry. This plan makes as much sense as just giving everyone gastric bypass without then teaching them how to diet and eat properly.

    February 25, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Well, we know from history if it is a democratic party proposal it will cost three time more than budgeted and I want to fail the math professor that taught them that the upper 2% of taxpayers is all they need to raise taxes on to pay for it. European sociallized medicine here it comes. If you want to cut health care cost cut out the lawyers and malpractice insurance companies. In 1985 the local news in Albany NY made the mistake of reporrting that !/3 of your medical bill at that time was to protect the doctors and hospitals fonm the lawyers. We need the media to investigate and report how much it is now. But CNN's lawyers probably will not let them as it will put some of their classmates in line for food stamps intsead of lobster and steak at a five star resturant. TORT REFORM NOW!

    February 25, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Dave in Illinois

    Where are the promised spending cuts that will balance the budget or do we just have to take as a matter of faith that they will happen after President Obama pushes though all the new spending packages? The problem is that the Demcrats in the Congress will happily enact all their wishlist of liberal entitlements but will never agree to any cuts in spending. All they'll do is propose higher taxes on those of us who still pay taxes.

    The President needs to demonstrate he can move towards his goal of reducing the deficit by cutting something before he adds more to it. He seems to be like a kid in a candy shop stuffing his face with free candy and not realizing he'll have a stomach ache to deal with and we'll have to pay the bill for both.

    February 25, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. texas teacher

    I suspect that the line review by the Obama Team will no doubt find so much surplus that is will cover much of Obama's plans!

    YBM, you silly idiot! Take any picture of Bush and Cheney... color it red, and as God is my witness you will see the stereotypical image of the Devil and his Best Demon! You talk like a fool... and fools should expect to be called such! Pitiful... just pitiful!

    Last night on Steven Colbert one preacher(Black) compared him to Hitler and another (white) compared him to the Antichrist! Amazing how foolish some so called religious people can be!

    There's a quote I heard or read recently, "What you fear most walks beside you!" Gentlemen, I suggest you look in the mirrow to see what demons are walking with you! 🙂

    February 25, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Matthew, Detroit

    Now they are going to work on killing off the health care.


    Doctors will soon be running out.

    Cut the pay of the health care.

    No more smart people going into healthcare.

    There goes are health system. Welcome to Canada. Stand in line.

    February 25, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. Matthew, Detroit




    February 25, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. greenguy


    your idea cost several trillion dollars, way more than 750 Billion dollars, go back to school and learn how to do math. Thats more spending without raising taxes which will not work people. even if the war stops today it will a savings of 4.8 billion a month. The war funding for 2009 is 55.56 billion dollars for the whole year. Who is stupid now?

    February 25, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. GuyInVA

    Healthcare is the linchpin to fiscal health?!? Wow, that's a relief. I thought we had housing, mortgage and credit problems. That statement ranks right up there with the administration saying the biggest threat to national security was the economy along with climate change (not global warming anymore... climate change).

    February 25, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. DP

    Thank God I have health care from my employer. Have any of you with half a brain ever wondered what "tightening payments to insurers, hospitals and physicians" means? It is rationing health care by denying proceedures deemed unneccessary regardless of your physician's recomendation. Does this make you want government health care? We need reform starting with controlling liability payments and legal fees being paid on malpractice claims. It is the main reason for the rise in health care costs. The actual cost of salaries and procedures are not skyrocketing at 4 times the national average. Of course, try telling that to all of the lawyers in government.

    February 25, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Republican are ankle biters

    They should nationalize ARRP,the biggest health scam insurance going.

    February 25, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. sisi22

    I agree with carrosel5. The only way to stimulate the economy is to put some of those billions in the hands of the American people, in the way of a grants. The banks will continue to throw lavis parties, and find tax havens over seas, and give big bonuses to CEOs. They don't care about the American people at all.

    February 25, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    @ TBM, who said "Soylent Green anyone???"

    I'll take that over the sheisse the GOP's been forcefeeding us for decades.

    February 25, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. PS / North Carolina

    YBM wrote February 25th, 2009 5:07 pm ET

    "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."

    Call him antichrist or hitler, but he is our President. This shows what a pathetic coward you are. GOP fanatics are the "antichrists", who are religious fanatics but doesn’t care about the poor or the sick. They spread the wealth to the wealthy rich.

    February 25, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Matthew, Detroit

    2% of the population pays 40 % of all taxes.
    5% of the population pays 60% of all taxes.
    50% of teh population pays 95% of all taxes.

    I know it is very popular to say TAX THE RICH but the argument is a joke.

    WHY is Barack giving 95% of people a tax break. They DO NOT deserve it. 40% of people pay absolutely NO taxes. How come we are giving them a tax break. WHY are we calling it a tax break.

    We HAVE to stop spending. Leave taxes as they are. STOP SPENDING.

    A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they

    can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”


    February 25, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    If you think the average citizen is going to get the same medical care, especially for serious illness and injuries as people like Ted Kennedy, look at the rest of the world with socialized medicine. The 85% who have insurance are going to see a degraded quality to what they have now. Tort Reform will cut medical cost and also we need to keep the lawyers out of the taxpayers wallet which the democrats want them to have access to.

    February 25, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. CNN moderation purgatory...

    Get ready for 50%+ income tax.
    This money doesn't just magically appear.
    Universal Health Care a.k.a. Socialized Medicine is neither free nor of any real quality.

    February 25, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. connect the dots

    Guess we cant talk about that health insurance company that has a monopoly on older folks and has them believing they arent a company at all.The name has four letters and starts with AA.

    February 25, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Simmy

    To the chronic complainers and those who constantly talk of doom and gloom,

    Please be reminded that the former administration wasted more than a trillion dollars on the Iraq war. I don't know the figures spent (so far) in Afghanistan, but I can estimate that it is exorbitant.

    For $50,000,000, teachers could have gotten raises, many schools could have gotten much needed repairs, some jobs could have been created, I'm sure. But there is a building in Iraq, at this moment, that stands incomplete. No one is even attempting to work on the structure. It's been left in ruins. $50,000,000 already spent on an unfinished project. Was it PORK? Was it necessary? Where is the Republican "Whistle Blower?" "Spending at its worst."

    Next time your Representatives yell: "Irresponsible," "Too much spending," etc., remind them of the "$50,000,000 Building to Nowhere in Iraq."

    February 25, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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