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)