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. Chris

    Hard working people who have reached retirement age should not have their Medicare cut. They've paid for this sytem by working all these years. We should not be taking it to increase Medicaid to those who refuse to work and want to raise their families on government assistance (i.e. - welfare).

    September 16, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. barb

    If the health care plan passes, just think how much Acorn can cheat the public out of and help Obama run for second term.

    September 16, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "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."

    Yeah, I also prefer when it's a private company pulling that plug and rationing services.

    How thick are you GOPers anyway?

    September 16, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. thersa

    George Miller is my congressman and I think he does a great job. Go George!

    September 16, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Mark

    I am not in support of the health care bill that will make it mandatory for all to have. Especially if you will be fined $950 per individual and around $3,000 for families not having coverage.

    September 16, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Celsuil

    The deficit and our enconomic trouble is all connected with health care, which costs are rising much faster than inflation. I'm willing to listen to other option that can control this, but a bill with the People's option seems to me the best ways to hold insurance companies and big pharma accountable.

    September 16, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. howie

    I want the House to leave the public option in the bill, that way the bill will be defeated. Then we can come up with a realistic plan..

    September 16, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. mary

    I see so many people protest the health care bill.
    Not one republican has alternative.
    Are we going to wait till 90% of people are uninsured and our hospitals are closing because they don't have the funds to run.
    You think Obama's health care proposal is bad it will be 10 times worse.
    Illegals have been getting free health care all along.
    They go to hospital and don't pay the bill.
    Our hospitals can not deny treatment even if they don't have insurance or money.
    We are all loosing in this situation.
    Maybe Obama's insurance is not perfect but it's better than what we have.

    September 16, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Wake Up

    the deficit is caused by 787 billion waste by Obama in the Porkulus package.

    100 million per job supposedly save!! Nice Job Obama....real productive. How much are we in debt to China now?

    Has America been attacked since 9-11?

    September 16, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. howie

    Where does the right believe the deficit was caused by Bush. When he left office it was just above $450B. In just eight months Obama has raised it to more than $1 trillion, At this pace, in four years, the numbers will be staggering. Also how many out there believe health reform will not increase the budget one dime as Obama has stated???????

    September 16, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. annie s

    We support a public health option 100%. It allows us the free choice the conservatives are always claiming they want (unless, of course, it takes a dime away from their rich cronies). More importantly, it creates a healthy competition with the private sector that will ultimately bring down all costs. I can't understand how anyone could be against this sound idea.

    September 16, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Dave

    I hope the public option is included.

    September 16, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Ted:Canada

    As an outsider watching you Americans!!!

    I have only one question – why are some Republicans against HUMAN RIGHTS.

    Health Care is a human right not something you make a profit on let alone allow someone to die because they did not have the money!

    We are NOT third world countries!!!!!!

    September 16, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Jay

    Why don't the Repubs join hands with Democrats. They want Obama to fail so he want be reelected in 2012. Repubs if you had an ounce of sense you woul allow anything to pass and hope that it don't work. But what the Repubs are doing is not getting to the chance stage. Kill it now and laugh. Sorry Repubs something must be on the floor and pass before you say it didn't work.

    September 16, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Another thought

    We have the 37th best health care system in the world, according the World Health Organization. Why would we want to be better?

    September 16, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Scott, Tucson

    The dem's just don't get it! No one but maybe the ACORN crowd wants this Obamacare plan. I for one don't wish to give the IRS greater authority to pry into Americans private bank accounts. And if this plan is so great than why are the politicians and the labor unions exempt from it?

    September 16, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Bo

    We the people, not the insurance companies want a PUBLIC OPTION

    September 16, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Fool me once shame on u, fool me twice... err...

    Any meaningful health care reform needs to have some form of a public plan option. Without that, any health care bill passed would be an IIPPEA – Insurance Industry Profit Protection & Enhancement Act.

    That was the testimony to congress of a former Cigna Vice President. CNN, please cover that gentleman's appearence before congress. I think it is worthy news during this debate!

    September 16, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    The party of no needs to GO. Back to their puny little states and shut up. All they care about is getting more money for their Insurance Companies.

    I know a lot that are voting ANTI-GOP IN NC.

    September 16, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. ICARE

    Thomas Edison created the light bulb for us all to use, after attempting it 1000 times! All I can say is DIE TRYING and we will definitely get there with healthcare.

    September 16, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. millwright

    Don't knock down the whole house if you just need to fix a squeaking door. The foundation of health care is good for the majority of the country, so just fix the problem. I hope this plan fails and congress grows a brain....whoops-need to add the Obama media to the brain comment also...

    September 16, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Idiot_Pelosi

    No wonder the House Bill stinks. WAXMAN and RANGEL.

    You picked one of the biggest social idiots and one of the biggest crooks in the house.

    Isn't WAXMAN the moron who wants "Sex Gender Changes" to be covered procedures by law.

    September 16, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. sarahinfla

    If any bill does pass and does not hold the health care industry as a whole, yes including insurance companies accountable for there actions and greed.

    And if there is not true competition to keep prices down it will be a flop for the dems.

    The trick will be finding away to prevent the current insurance copanies smart / greedy individuals from coming up with creative plans that do nothing for the insurance holder. And preventing the newly created exchanges / public option from getting greedy and corrupt...... This is a hard road to hoe but its needed now.....

    September 16, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. ICARE

    We'll need to keep demanding for better healthcare, even if this bill passes!! There's much to do in a lot of areas...... WE need to do our part and address THESE issues......

    The President is not the problem. Our congressman is not the problem. It is US who stood low and am satisfied with high-cost and bad services.

    September 16, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. I support the President!

    No on in their RIGHT mind would oppose Health Care Reform. BTW what is the republican plan or do they even have one??

    September 16, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5