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. JNelson

    Carters out of touch and is just looking for head lines.. I am saden to see a past president get this way. Boo Carter...

    September 16, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Deuce

    Oh whatamessObama..

    September 16, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. JNelson

    Looking for pictures of the 2 millon concerned citizens this weekend on the white house, is CNN blind.....

    September 16, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Chris Healy

    What complete jibberish. Miller wants a national healthc care plan as does Rangel and Waxman. That will never change. Setting arbitrary payroll categories is more of the same centralized planning that we thought ended when the Berlin War came down and the various politburo's went out of business. But not in Washington, D.C.

    September 16, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. paula

    I agree with Carter-a lot of folks don't even know they are rascist. They have black friends but would disown their children if they married a person who happend to be black.

    September 16, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Stuff it. It won't pass the senate if there's a public option.

    September 16, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Rob Johnson

    As with most things in politics, the key to success is compromise.

    If the Conference Committee can come up with a bill that is halfway between the House version and the Baucus version, then we might acutally get something done. Neither bill would pass both houses as they are currently written. Baucus' bill would not have the support of liberal House Democrats, and the House bill would not have the support of moderate Senate Democrats.

    The final result might not be everything liberals like myself wanted, but it's a step in the right direction. Despite how ugly this debate has been, I think democracy is actually working pretty well here, and at the end of the day we will have a bill that most Americans can support.

    September 16, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Fed Up

    Good. Now get it passed and get it started immediately. That way, we can see how good it will be for the country before the mid-term elections and 2012. Any takers? I didn't think so.

    September 16, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Farrell in Houston

    Let's see what Boehner and other GOPers will now say after they were so anxious to move past the Wilson sanction and get on with the subject of healthcare reform.

    September 16, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. California Love

    If the public option were marketed as "the people's option" then this bill would have already passed. Instead of saying that the option would be able to compete with the insurance companies, it should be shown as a way to give the people more choices. Nobody's forcing anybody to choose the option.

    All Republicans and few Democrats with an Independent senator from Connecticut seem to be bank-rolled by the insurance lobbyists.

    Obama, please keep pusing for the public option since otherwise we are left with skyrocketing prices with no way of controlling it.

    September 16, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. jim

    Maybe some of these officials missed the memo sent from the people of the United States of America this summer. WE DO NOT WANT YOUR HEALTH CARE REFORM! No matter how many times our president goes onT.V. to try and scare us into thinking his way, facts are facts, and the presidents facts don't add up. The only thing that does add up is our country's debt, thanks Obama, my children and grandchildren are really going to appreciate paying higher taxes for all of your mistakes. When are the next elections? P.S. I am african american and voted for Obama.

    September 16, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Moosehead

    Go for it, and forget about the Baucus proposal,... Baucas is working for the interests of the insurance companies.

    September 16, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Voted4HealthCare

    The health-care bill passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee seems the most viable compromise and still maintains a reasonable public option supported by the majority in America. Sen. Buacus needs to adopt this version for the Senate.

    September 16, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. katiec

    Health Care Reform is critical for our country, but without Public Option it would be a farce.
    Public Option is the only plan that will make insurance companies become competitive, stop the raping of the American people and, perhaps, bring some integrity and honor back to the health care entities.
    Public Option is the only option that truly benefits the American people.

    September 16, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Sam Sixpack

    This thing is going down in flames. Thank god.

    Maybe you don't care, but I don't want my government to pull the plug on your grandma – no matter how stupid you are.

    September 16, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. PeterJ

    Anything involving George Miller and Charlie Rangel should be avoided like the freaking p[lague. Charlie Rangel is a bigger crook than Cheney, ACORN or any of the lot....

    September 16, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. ray

    The deficit right now caused by President Bush by invading Iraq without any clear reason. The President Obama wants to use money to ensure all American have health insurance coverage to benefit to all American. Why do they oppose him. Right now I have health insurance coverage but I'm willing to pay more tax so all American can afford to have health insurance.

    September 16, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. obama the liar

    no free health care for unions and lazy liberals.

    September 16, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. obummer, 1 and done

    You want the government to run healthcare, well let's see where that is going to take us.

    WASHINGTON (AP) - In a chilling forecast, the White House is predicting a 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion - more than the sum of all previous deficits since America's founding. And it says by the next decade's end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy.

    Even supporters of Obama's economic policies said the long-term outlook places the federal government on an unsustainable path that will force the president and Congress to consider politically unpopular measures, including tax increases and cuts in government programs.

    Good bye America thanks to obummer.

    September 16, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    The headlines are reporting that the latest bill is taking out the Public Option, but mandating healthcare for all. So no public option and now you have a health insurance mandate. If you don't have insurance, you pay a fine. Thanks Republicans. You are all insane, and lead by your extreme right of your party.

    September 16, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Caesar the Great

    Nothing will ever happen, and you want to know why. These people are all too worried about getting re-elected. They get all extreme for a year, but when re-election comes up they suddenly move back to the middle. The public option is dead, deal with it.

    September 16, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Irene

    without a public option, insurance companies will not have the incentive of keeping our insurance rates down. Shame on the Senate for allowing a group of conservative bigots to inflict their will on the rest of the population. If we don't get a public option, you can be sure I will not vote for anyone in the next election!

    September 16, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Sabrina

    GRRRRRR!!!!! The elderly and sick, once again, carry the burden in this STUPID proposal.

    If this is the best you can do, then do nothing. Your leaving it just as bad as it is now. That is JUST wrong.

    People that are sick can't afford to pay outrageous preimiums. For gods sake, if they are sick they are not working, how can they afford to pay more?

    As for the 6 month waiting period, the sick could die before they get coverage. Maybe that is the point of the waiting period. Then you don't have to pay to make them well.

    I'm so tired of insurance compinies and the drug compinies keeping us, the american public, sick and broke.

    September 16, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Caesar the Great

    Baucus is working for the insurance agencies huh??? If thats the case the President was already bought by PHARMA. More money is wasted every year by PHARMA than by the insurance agencies. How many un-necessary meds is everyone on. Every kid now has ADD of some sort and needs medication??? How come we arent hearing about PHARMA in the same, or worse, light as the insurance agencies?

    September 16, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Doug

    If the House is requiring the Bill to have a Public option, it is a no-go in the senate. And please, please try to force it upon the public with a simple majority, it will be political suicide. The House Democrats will feel the wrath of the voters in 2010. Keep pushing boys and girls.

    September 16, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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