WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Congressional Budget Office is now estimating that limits on medical malpractice lawsuits - reforms favored by many Republicans - could save the government as much as $54 billion over the next ten years.
The government spends about $2.5 trillion on health care every year.
A tort reform package that includes caps on jury awards of $500,000 for punitive damages and $250,000 for "pain and suffering" damages would lower liability insurance premiums by about 10 percent, according to a report from the non-partisan CBO issued late last week.
Such laws would lower expenditures on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid by roughly $41 billion, according to the report. An additional $13 billion would be gained from taxable wages over ten years as employers reduce the amount they spend on health care.
The research was revealed in a letter sent Friday from CBO director Douglas Elmendorf to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican who has raised questions about how much malpractice reform would save.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Health insurance premiums for the typical American family will increase by another $4,000 by 2019 under a key Senate reform plan, according to a new industry trade group analysis.
The report raised new questions about the political viability of the 10-year, $829 billion compromise bill drafted under the guidance of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana.
The Finance Committee is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday. The vote represents a potential turning point in the health care debate. Baucus' committee is the last of five congressional panels to consider health care legislation before debate begins in the full House and Senate.
The report from the group America's Health Insurance Plans concludes that, under the Baucus plan, the costs of private health insurance would rise by 111 percent over the next decade. Under the current system, costs would rise by 79 percent, the report claims.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday she would not run for president again, and brushed off suggestions that she is being marginalized in the Obama White House.
Clinton, who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama, said "No" three different times when asked by NBC's Ann Curry "Will you ever run for president again? Yes or No?"
"This is a great job," Clinton said in the interview broadcast Monday. "It is a 24-7 job. And I am looking forward to retirement at some point."
Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) – In a passionate address to Northern Ireland's legislature, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged Washington's commitment Monday to the Northern Ireland peace process.
There still are those who want to undermine that process, she warned, trying to derail it with "thuggish tactics."
In the Stormont Assembly were members of at least six political parties - men and women, she said, "who once were sworn enemies who now work side by side."
(CNN) – Mitt Romney, continuing to lay the groundwork for a possible 2012 presidential run, will officially endorse Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey Tuesday in Philadelphia.
It's a move that marks the progress Romney has made in shoring up bonds with some key conservative constituencies. Just over two years ago, with Romney's presidential effort in full swing, Toomey raised questions about the former Massachusetts governor's record on fiscal issues.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Far from backing away from its recent slam at 24-hours cable news outlet Fox News, the White House is stepping up its criticism of the cable news network.
“The reality of it is that Fox often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Dunn said that Obama had recently chosen not to appear on Fox because of the administration’s belief that Fox is ideologically predisposed against Obama and his agenda.
But Dunn pointed out that during his presidential campaign and since being elected, Obama has been interviewed by Fox News, and will be again in the future.
“He’ll go on Fox because he engages with ideological opponents,” Dunn told CNN’s Howard Kurtz. “He has done that before and he’ll do it again.”
But Dunn was quick to add that the White House does not consider an interview with Fox comparable to interviews with other media outlets.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: McCain warns against 'historic' error in Afghanistan
Sen. John McCain said any added military deployment in Afghanistan smaller than the 40,000 troops reportedly requested by the top U.S. commander there "would be an error of historic proportions."
CNN: Feinstein urges Obama to decide soon on Afghan troop levels
A leading Democrat on Capitol Hill urged President Barack Obama to heed the advice of his top commander in Afghanistan, who is calling for more troops.
New York Times: Civilian Goals Largely Unmet in Afghanistan
Even as President Obama leads an intense debate over whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, administration officials say the United States is falling far short of his goals to fight the country’s endemic corruption, create a functioning government and legal system and train a police force currently riddled with incompetence.
Wall Street Journal: White House Bid to Close Gitmo Hampered by Snags in Congress
President Barack Obama's order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January faces snags in Congress that some of the president's supporters say result from a lack of White House muscle.
New York Times: U.S. Can’t Trace Foreign Visitors on Expired Visas
Eight years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and despite repeated mandates from Congress, the United States still has no reliable system for verifying that foreign visitors have left the country.
CNN: GOP needs its own health care reform agenda, McCain says
As the national debate over health care reform is set to enter a new phase with next week’s scheduled vote in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, says his party needs to crystallize its own positive agenda for health care reform.
USA TODAY: If a health bill passes, benefits not immediate
Sixty years is how long Democrats say they've been pushing for legislation that provides health care access for all Americans. They'll have to wait three more if President Obama gets a bill to sign this year.
Washington Post: New Bill Would Raise Rates, Says Insurance Group
After months of collaboration on President Obama's attempt to overhaul the nation's health-care system, the insurance industry plans to strike out against the effort on Monday with a report warning that the typical family premium in 2019 could cost $4,000 more than projected.