WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the Senate struggles with a second, competing version of health-care reform, a key player in House negotiations says pivotal committee chairmen in that chamber have coalesced around one position for a final House bill.
House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, made the comment to CNN Wednesday, pointing to discussions with Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman, D-California, and Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-New York.
"We've come together around a position we would want to present to the leadership to go through," Miller said.
Unlike a proposal unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Max Baucus, the House version would include a public option - a government agency that would provide health insurance alongside private companies.
Miller gave few details and did not indicate a firm timeline for House Democrats to unveil a final draft, but said that discussion is "happening
almost everyday now."
The Education and Labor chairman did offer some specifics on small businesses and mandated coverage.
He indicated the three committee leaders initially are sticking with the most lenient of the proposals, the position in the Energy and Commerce version of the bill. That would exempt businesses with less than $500,000 in payroll from paying for employee health coverage. Businesses with up to $750,000 in payroll would receive partial fines for not carrying coverage and companies larger than that would pay a full penalty if they do not offer employee health coverage.
But, those limits could be pushed up. "The president suggested maybe we would go higher than that, we have not made that decision," Miller said. "That's a matter of discussion for the caucus."