February 25th, 2009
04:36 PM ET
14 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. Independent_me

    I don't get it...
    why would anyone not want people to have health insurance?
    Most companies aren't giving much insurance coverage anymore... I just don't get it!
    We NEED universal health insurance...
    And by the way....


    February 25, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. Matthew, Detroit






    Barack is a lousy president. Good thing he speaks well. That is how you people measure him. That is why snake oil salesmen are successful as well.

    February 25, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Kenichi

    Make it mandatory for people to select a health care institution/health insurance provider (from birth make it mandatory to choose a health care institution/ health insurance provider and when an immigrant becomes a citizen make it mandatory to choose a health care institution/ health insurance provider) -stops illegal immigrants at the same time if people have to show the hospital their social security number as proof- and have everyone pay the same fee parallel to their age along with their health status (fee can also vary depending on the person’s salary) If everyone is mandatory to select a health care institution/health insurance provider as soon as they are either born or when an immigrant that becomes a citizen then the health care businesses/ health insurance provider would get more business/profits and thus can lower membership fees for people who want to become members of a health care institution/ health insurance provider. The government should give tax cuts to both hospitals and colleges if the hospital and college work together to help each other with research, have student’s from the college go to the hospital to help out-student’s get a tuition reduction- (colleges’ can have students and especially medical students to help out the hospital with anything for the hospital like helping out doctor’s or anything, the student’s can reduce the work load for the hospital employees and therefore allow workers of the hospital to get a lower salary- college’s could even have their students or teachers create medical inventions, help diagnose and create a cure for illnesses, and so forth-. Have someone from the hospital use a medical computer program that can ascertain what is wrong with the person by typing in their ailments-it is effective and cheap and through a process of elimination the patient will find his or her illness for when the patient is going for a check-up- and if the computer program is unable to find out what is wrong then a doctor should be consulted. The aforesaid statement alone will decrease medical costs and fees a lot and make healthcare a lot more affordable. Note: since the computer medical program will make getting a check-up be cheap and affordable, the health sector can redirect funding for check-up related things to help people financially if they have to get surgery or get scanned by a machine. (Note: if it is possible for patients who need surgery to go to a foreign country and get their surgery done in the foreign country. People would as a result not only have affordable and low prices for check-ups in the United States because of the computer medical program, but they can either get their surgery done here or in a foreign country depending on the price for surgery that they want-Note: people can choose whichever country they want to have surgery in based on the level of quality and price they want.) In addition the price for getting surgery done in the United States would decrease because since we are allowing surgeries to be done in foreign countries we are increasing the competition and number of places where people can get surgeries done in.) By doing that the health insurance companies would have to pay significantly less for health care and therefore a financial meltdown can be averted if anything malignantly happens in the health insurance sector.

    February 25, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Matthew, Detroit


    Why should we give the teachers any additional money.

    The kids in our schools are idiots. They fail and drop out. In the inner

    city we cant get them to show up. Their parents are not existent. Oh

    yes and we score lower than most of the industrilalized world. Maybe

    those teachers need to dump their unions and start doing a job.

    Maybe they can lesson plan and learn to teach. Maybe they can start

    FLUNKING the kids that need to be flunked. The EDUCATIONAL

    system pays 10X more per student than it did 30 years ago when I was in school. The kids score lower. They drop out faster.

    MONEY is not the CURE ALL issue that you think it is.

    BOTTOM LINE, We can not afford it all. You have to make cuts.

    February 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Tina, NC

    You Republicans just don't get it. The reason health care is so expensive is because people who have insurance are paying for those who don't. You really think a band-aid cost $10.00. No! The hospital will charge you that because they know that the next 9 band-aids they give out to the uninsured won't ever be paid for. Health insurance is outrageous for the same reason. They are paying, in part, for the $10.00 band-aid and then they have to give out those bonuses to their executives. If you think the bankers are greedy take at look at the health insurance industry. At least the bankers aren't making decisions that kill people. Yet.

    If ANY Republican lawmaker refuses to work for universal health care then we should demand that their health insurance be taken away.

    Every American should be ashamed that the greatest country in the world is allowing people to die because they don't have health insurance.

    February 25, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Matthew, Detroit


    AND Maybe if your congress would not spend money on condoms,

    std education, and oversea abortions, they could start a performance

    program for teachers and pay the ones that actually teach kids that

    pass classes.

    February 25, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Terry

    We have to solve the nation's problems somehow. Those who complain about the new federal budget have nothing to suggest in its place.

    The national infrastructure is crumbling, the population is skyrocketing, college education is too expensive for most of our young people without federal grants, medical care is too expensive for much of the population, the middle class is shrinking, wealth is being funneled from the middle class to the wealthy class, our children are being poorly educated, our employers are offering us crappy, dead-end jobs with no benefits, jobs are being outsourced, Americans are being laid off by the tens of thousands every week, America is turning into a nation of poorly paid workaholics, homeless bums populate every street corner, homes are being repossessed, homes are losing their value and cannot be sold, our factories are closed or closing - to mention just a few of our problems.

    We invented the TV but we buy our TVs from Asia. We invented the car, but our cars are made in Asia. We invented the computer, but our computers are made in Taiwan.

    Our CEOs, in pursuit of corporate "excellence," led us into this mess, but they have been notably quiet about how we can get ourselves out of it. The Republican Party is recommending the same tired old voodoo economics coupled with corporate deregulation – which got us into this in the first place.

    So, Obama critics, what would YOU do if YOU were president? It is easy to take cheap shots, but much harder to try to DO anything.

    February 25, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Matthew, Detroit


    Come up with an original thought you monkey.

    Rush Limbaugh did not pick John McCain, Sarah Palin, or Bobby Jindal. He had nothing to do with it.

    If you ever actaully listened to him, none of those people were his

    choices. He was completely against McCain. All through the

    primaries and even after. Get your facts straight.

    February 25, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. ray

    where was the money dishing out from for an illegal war in iraq republicans? to spend the money on americans its a problem to the white racists.

    February 25, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Matthew, Detroit

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. They could all just pay $10 since they all drank beer or if they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest of the 10) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed OK with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good and faithful customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer bill by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80."

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free, but what about the other six men the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair
    share?" They realized if they divided the $20 savings by six they could each reduce the amount they were paying by $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share,
    then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

    So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill the same way Tax Savings are dispersed, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay –
    And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings) – so 5 men are drinking for free.
    The sixth now paid only $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth (the wealthiest) now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free, now along with the 5th too. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their total dollar
    savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20" declared the sixth man.
    He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!'" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I”.
    "That's true" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two”? The wealthy get all the breaks!' '"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "$20 was given back and we didn't get anything at all. This system exploits the poor!"

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
    In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    February 25, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. former schip dr

    I was waiting for this moment. All the years of training and dedication being wiped out by our government. Do the American people not realize that we have the best trained doctors in the world? With this occuring you will have less doctors (many will quit and fewer will go to med school – admissions are decling every year) to take care of you. Who will want to become a doctor now in a socialized medicine system when it takes you between 11 and 15 years after high school before you can even start earning a living. everyone loves to blame the doctors (which I know I will get bashed for every word I write) but we have work hard to get to even start treating are fellow Americans and it will all be gone. the problem with healthcare is caused by lawyers and insurance companies (I get paid less today by 15 percent than 5 years ago. Wonder why you have to wait so long now to see your doctors??) who only care about profiting off you, not healing you.

    Research of new drugs and products that will help to improve and will extend your life will be decreased or not performed at all.
    You think the ecomony is bad now, wait till you see the unemployment that will come from all of the ancillary services that are necessary that wil be diminished or lost (i.e. physical therapy, imaging, home health and hospice care etc.) If you look at the economy tracker on CNN.com the only industry that has had job increase has been healthcare. we already have a shortage of nurses. half of the nurses at the hospitals I treat patients have been brought in from the Phillipines or India. This is where all of the doctors will come from under this system when most of us give up.

    I was about to hire two new people today for my office but after reading this article and reading everyones comments I acutally am going to probably let people go to be able to keep my practice afloat. Hoping they will find jobs. Thank you Mr. President.

    Gid bless us all we will need it.

    February 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. YBM

    @PS / North Carolina February 25th, 2009 6:35 pm ET

    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.

    A typical non-listening NON-READING/Comprehending sheeple. I never called him hitler. Coward huh, I just got back from 20 months in Iraq, have you been there lately????

    February 25, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. Amanda

    Having been born and educated in France and experienced its excellent universal health care, I applaud President Obama's decision to reform the health care system in this country. It is long overdue. The richest country in the world with millions without health insurance is a shame.

    February 25, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  14. Matthew, Detroit


    Bless You.

    February 25, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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