September 16th, 2009
11:36 AM ET
13 years ago

House Democrats agree on health-care position, chairman says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="House Democrats agree on health-care position, chairman says."]

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."

Filed under: Health care • Senate
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Give us national health care. No more kissing the butt of greedy corporations.

    September 16, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Arden Muller

    You still need a Public Option. The word option means a choice. No one has to sign up for it. I hope this is a sign that we are really getting somewhere with health care. We need to get this thing done se we can focus on creating jobs.

    September 16, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Joe the Plumber

    Poll done by top CEO's in reference to the next 5-10 years if nothing is done about healthcare;
    80% believe workers won't see a raise
    70% believe companies will start dropping coverage
    33% believe companies will start firing

    September 16, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. David

    We need a public option for real competition with the health insurance companies. I have company sponsored health insurance and I SUPPORT A PUBLIC OPTION.

    The Senate Republicans appear to have succeeded in removing the public option but won't vote for health care reform anyway. I certainly hope the Senate Democrats get their act together in their final version and get a public option. If passing a good bill requires reconciliation, do it.

    September 16, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Kim in mpls

    People are going to be up in arms over this bill from Baukus, mandating healthcare when in reality we have that for our autos.

    Why because the auto insurance companies wanted it. Now we have a similar situation and again these insurace companies have their hands all over this. If you think for one minute that having the healthcare industry holding down their costs and passing the savings on to the consumer is going to work, you're dreaming. Without the public option we will never have reform. This is just a trillion dollar boon to the insurance coimpanies.

    What we really need first is lobby reform

    September 16, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Reformist

    Three cheers! Screw the obstructionist Repuglicans.

    September 16, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Matt, San Diego CA

    A public option will force the corrupt insurance companies to play nice, and better their service! If it acieves the desired effect, perhaps nobody will want to use the public option and it will become unneccessary. I say give it a shot. It's not like it can't be undone if it doesn't work. People get way to upset about stuff like this. You're not even going to notice a difference.

    September 16, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Aaron

    The house democrats should do two things with respect to their version of H.R. 3200:

    * Garner support for their proposal from the Senate
    * Open up the public option to more Americans

    September 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. dj brown

    hol' on tight bro..........., help is on the way..........., change is coming............, and we shall overcome!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Cindy

    If Dems are going to end up going it alone anyway....

    Might as well be the bill they really want, not the watered down compromise one.

    Let's just do it already. Pass the Healthcare bill, President Obama. If it means political suicide, so be it. America is counting on your courage.

    September 16, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. rasta

    what is going on with these people ! then you say it is not raceism i bet you most of these folks are already on a government plan yes im talking to you its ok to share folks. god has share so many things with you all, and remamber we are all equal in gods sight.

    September 16, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Marlene

    Good luck to the House members. The Senate committee headed by Sen. Baucus has sold out to the Republicans and the health insurance industry. We need to reform the insurance industry, not pass a bill that would insure that they make billions in the next five years, as the Senate proposal would do. Marlene in Mich

    September 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Has anyone stopped to think (?) how much NOT reforming Health Care is going to cost the country? Minor problems become major ones over time. Then we really see the cost of neglect and delay. How short sighted can we be? And this from our leaders in Congress who are supposed ro represent and be concerned about the needs of the people.

    September 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |

    Democrates will fine you for not taking baccus/obama health care, well obama, send your SS troopers and try to collect your fine

    September 16, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Chuck, Tennessee

    Do they really believe this plan will not add to the deficit? Really? Well, then, they really are as dumb as we thought!

    September 16, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. bob

    The Bottom Line: The House and Senate do not care about you. Anyone who thinks they do is a fool. They are funded by corporations and insurance companies and have zero incentive to make things better for any of us. Why should they? They're doing very well at our expense. I'm sure some kind of bill will pass, but it will be empty, meaningless and futile. The Big Companies will win and we will lose. This is the way it's always been – and the way it will always be. America is such a joke, full of greed, selfishness and ignorance. We keep telling ourselves that we're the greatest country in the world, but we're actually the laughing-stock of every civilized nation on earth. If you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life, you'll have to move to another country – one that actually cares about the welfare of it's people. Ours doesn't.

    September 16, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. todas

    So for the republican, i wonder what kind of fix they have for me , willing , and wating to buy insurance , but always turned away as i have a pre existing conditions...!!! what is thier answer? as for the King Obama , do what you can there is no way we voting for you next time , stand up, show you can , not only in speeches..............................gracias

    September 16, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. S M R

    Thanks for all the hard work put forth, CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA

    September 16, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. All the news that is fit to omit

    Step, there were at least 1.2 million people there doing their patriotic duty in speaking on the power grabs and overspending of this admin.

    Who else but a liberal would spend other peoples money to tear down a WHOLE HOUSE if there were a simple leak in the basement?

    We need reform and some tweaking, but not this socialist overhaul.

    Enjoy watching MessNBC tonight Steph, you and the other three viewers should be so stoked.

    My bad Mr Carter, I must be a racist.

    September 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Di

    The government can has so many programs in the RED. Medicare, Medicaid, PO, SS, SSI etc..................... They have NO RIGHT to mandate any business! This is AMERICA

    September 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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