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. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    If America was leading the way (like we SHOULD as the theoretical leader of the free world), we would already HAVE a public option.
    "Big Business/Pharma/HMO" is worried about profits, not patients. IMO, patients/health CARE should be what drives the health care industry, not financial gain at the expense of health CARE.
    Properly run, Public Option guarantees health CARE for Americans... AND, YES, our Government CAN find a way to run it well enough to serve our citizens, and better (for the patients than the profit motivated, "Health" Insurance Industry.

    September 16, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. They call me "Tater Salad"

    ATTENTION Republicans and Democrats, NO public option for us? NO public office or political future for you! Just that simple. So choose wisely!

    September 16, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Wake Up

    Attack the messenger...don't debate the huge debts, government takeovers.
    "tea-baggers", racists, this really the extensive vocabulary the "tolerent" left has. No wonder why this country is screwed up.

    Libs, this is your moment, look what the heck the country has become under your act. yuck.

    September 16, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. annie

    There had better be a public option, or this life-long democrat is going to become an independent.

    September 16, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Wake Up

    NO other industry needs a "public option" to compete. Don't believe the brainwashing.
    Is there a public company that makes TV's, clothes, food, beer, widgets,???? No. You lefties are so gulliable to King Obama.

    September 16, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Steph

    There weren't 2 million CNN can't post pictures. 200,000 at the most! I saw the women trying to get the pathetic crowd to shout louder (it was barely a murmur) live on TV.

    September 16, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Democrats want EVERYTHING in the bill.......except of course for a provision barring the illegal alien parasites from gaming the system. How else are they going to get their fraudulent votes. JOE WILSON WAS RIGHT!

    September 16, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Independent in NYC

    I think its in their best interest if they want to be re-elected to do so.

    September 16, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Eugene

    Way to go, House of Representatives. Kick the public option into high gear and give the oligarchs a reason to keep costs down.

    September 16, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Dave

    If Dem's are "united" on Health Care reform then they should be able to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate since they have 60 Dem votes in the Senate. But no, Dem's are NOT united on Health Care reform can not get 60 votes in the Senate so they will try and pass this through reconciliation and blame Rep's for being "forced" to do this.

    What comes around goes around so when Rep's take back the Senate they can pass legislation that undo's the Government run programs that get passed through reconcilation by using reconciliation.

    September 16, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Sam Sixpack


    (1) We're cutting Medicare and Medicaid (a.k.a. bye, bye, grandma);

    (2) many American's are going to be forced to give all they can "afford" to fat, greedy insurance execs; and

    (3) there is no number 3.

    September 16, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Steve Illinois

    Let the Dems pass this without the help of any Republicans. They can then take all of the credit for it! If it's such a great idea, and they are so convinced that this is what we need, then pass it! The only reason it is NOT happening, is the Dems can't convince themselves that it will work. Pass this pig and see what happens in 2010 and 2012.
    Like my daddy used to say "ya can't polish a turd!"

    September 16, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    The house democrats just don't have a clue..... we dont want a Public Option. And why should we listen to thieves and crooks like Waxman and Rangel anyway?

    September 16, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    A Public Option is just a short term band aid that causes more and larger problems than it solves. It just adds people to the existing expensive health care system. It's a reaction, not a strategy.

    It is a bad idea by short-sighted politicians who are not interested in really reducing health care costs. We don't want it and we don't want politicians that think this way.

    September 16, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. Oakland Tracy

    Public Option Now! I'm sick and tired of insurance company profiteering on my healthcare. They need competition from outside the industry, and regulation – every year we pay more for healthcare and get less. I'm sick of it.

    September 16, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    It's really a sham that we have gone from a demogracy to a
    Democratic Ditcatorship.. The people have no choice in the matter of
    politics or anything in the government of this great country. The Senate passes what it wants not the people.
    We used to have where the people voted on matters in the country now the Senate and Congress does what they want not the people want...

    September 16, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Steph

    We need health care reform now!

    By the way, I'm a White, Christian, hard working American who has employer-based health insurance. I've had a job every day of my life since I turned 16 (included when I was going to college and grad school). I pay my taxes. I volunteer at my child's school, and I teach Sunday school. I have employer-based health insurance for my family, and plan on keeping it. So, stop all the "get a job, pay your taxes, you just want a government hand-out" crap.

    September 16, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Lynne

    If the protestors against president's Obama's plans are going to be taken seriously, and although I disgaree with them, I defend their right to do so, they need to get rid of the racist leaders who call names like "Indonesian Muslim" or "racist in chief".

    Until they do, they will get painted by the same brush!

    September 16, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Ivan Plummer

    It is a shame that we have gone into a Democratic Dicatorship and not a Democracy. The Senate and Congress pass what they want not the people, the vote should go back to the people.....

    September 16, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Ivan Plummer

    It is a shame that we have gone into a Democratic Dictatorship.
    The people used to vote now the Senate and Congress vote on what they want not the people...

    September 16, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. AJ

    The Baucus bill is a total give away to the insurance industry. Reform without a public option is no real reform!!

    September 16, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Sam Sixpack

    After you've paid all you can "afford" to fat, greedy insurance execs for a policy with a huge deductable, how are you going to pay for the health care you need?

    September 16, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. TCM

    What's truly amazing is the depth of the ignorance of liberals....appointing the likes of Pelosi, Reid, Rangel, Dodd...and Obama as "leaders..." These are people that are obviously mentally deficient in a variety of areas, and liberals look to them as leadership? To run a country? To make decisions that affect their lives and their children's lives? Liberalism truly is a mental illness

    There are two words that are killing any hopes of liberal democrats getting re-elected; Public Option.

    The public doesn't want it, and do not want to pay for the lazies in this society to sponge off of it...

    September 16, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. anthony stocks

    What I really want is a national health care system that eliminates the medicine-for-profit shenanigans of the insurance companies and puts doctors on salary. If a public insurance option will move us in that direction, let's boogie.

    September 16, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Tony

    We need to come together as American people and stop looking at color. I feel sorry for all people that think having a public option is bad. You have what choice of hamburgers, and chicken and coffee places you choose from. Let's get it together

    September 16, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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