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. Hugo

    I am confused about why healthcare reform is being so difficult. There are probably five things that could be done, well six counting voting out all the idiots in Washington, to cut our healthcare costs.

    FAIR PLAY REGULATION FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES (Get rid of existing ineffective burdensome regulation)

    I am just a gear head nerd, but why can't Government come up with a plan that simply does these five things?


    September 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Marcel


    NOT RACIST? Obama is depicted as an African Witch Doctor, there were slogans such as "Our zoo has an African-Obama is an African Muslim Alien-etc." This was nothing more than a Tea Party Hatefest. that included threats of violence and civil war and no discussion of health care reform. It was disgraceful and shameful. These racist do not speak for me.

    September 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. SlowGun

    Republicans really don't want health care reform. Just look at the facts.
    Reagan – did nothing about the rising costs of health care

    Bush 1 – did nothing about the rising costs of health care

    Clinton – tried to reform, but didn't have the votes from the republican controlled congress.

    Bush 2 – did nothing about the rising cost of health care.

    Obama – trying, but the republicans are doing everything they can to block it including out right lying..."Death Panels"

    So if Republican truely want affordable health care for Americans, why didn't Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2 propose some sort of reform? And why didn't the Republican controlled Congress and Senate offer a conter proposal to Clinton's?

    September 16, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Charlie Rangel

    Public option or mandated coverage? What's the difference?

    In one, you pay it with your tax dollars, in the other you pay it out of your wage. Either way, you pay, unless you have no job. So, the public option basically means I pay for you if I work and you don't.

    The only other difference I can think of is who will administer the plan. A company that has been doing it for profit or the government. I trust the insurance companies more. Many may think the insurance company might be sitting back getting "fat and wealthy", but they have to satisfy their customers or they will lose the income stream. We know the government is corrupt, and they have the ability to force you to pay or risk the consequences.

    If this president were REALLY smart, as some claim, his first act upon becoming president would have been to throw ALL of the laws in this country and instructed Congress to repeal every one of these that doesn't protect a person's life, liberty or property. This would result in about 90% reduction of regulations and opened the door for real economic growth. Everything else falls into place after that.

    September 16, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Fred

    Thanks, Dems. What with all the idiocy coming out of your party, and your garnering control over the executive and legislative branches of government, this country will be a wreck within 3 years. Of course, most of you are too stupid to see this.

    September 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Debra R

    Here is my health care plan for you all:

    get a job and buy your own insurance. I am already supporting too many freeloaders with my tax dollars

    Carter is a senile old fool. It cannot be about race. Obama is white and black... you all seem to forget that fact

    September 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. T

    Cutting programs and taxing is NOT the way to fix it! All that can come of this next bad fiasco is me paying more for health insurance, as I don't want to fund anyones abortions, nor do I need a cover all plan dreamed up by some congressman who bumps military members out of the doctors office any time they need to be seen for as little as a hangnail! How about FIX immigration, FIX medicare & FIX social security! Once you can actually accomplish something USEFUL, then go about trying to fix what is left. Once the illegals are gone there will be money left over to pay for an insurance plan for us AMERICANS!

    September 16, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. Jason

    We are not gullible! The Public Option isn't even Obama's idea! Get your Facts straight! oh yah I forgot you watch Fox News aka Faux News! There is no chance of getting facts straight now!

    September 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Chris

    Can people get it through their heads that health insurance will always seek profit, regardless of competition? The free-market model does not work when those that don't buy your product die.

    September 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Cincy RN

    Um....that was 60K-70K on the white house lawn this weekend....America you need the public option....I am telling you....did you see our Health Insurance Stocks go up just on news of the passing bill.....take a look! If the reform doesn't include it, don't whine about your rising premiums in the future....

    September 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    If the state requires that everybody have insurance and everybody needs insurance, why doesn't the state simply provide insurance? At least make it optional.
    You are not going to hear the majority. We shouted HOORAY! When we won the election, then we went back home and watched TV. The next thing ya know we see these crazy people on TV stifling the healthcare debate. After the election, we knew we were going to get health care reform. The only question was how.
    Now, thanks to lies, ignorance, fear, anger and hate, (AND the Democratic party being WIMPS) the key component we were looking for is missing.
    The majority is not silent, but we are not a shouting angry mob either. You will feel us at the polls. THE ELECTION POLLS! not these stupid polls CNN keeps coming out with daily but the one poll that matters. The only poll we all participate in.
    It won't matter how much campaign funds you have. If you will not provide the majority with what we ask for, we will replace you with someone who will.

    September 16, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Splat!~

    Republicans?~ Democrats?~ BOTH SUCK!~ We want a viable 3rd party!~

    September 16, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Manny1955

    Jim.....they did get the memos that we sent to him.....WE DO WANT HEALTHCARE REFORM WITH A PUBLIC OPTION.......that debt was 8 years in the making.
    I am retired after 34 years with my company with full benefits....most of my married kids who have professional careers and grandkids have health insurance and then I self employed daughter and employed son in law whose company doesn't not offer health insurance who do not have insurance coverage so those you guys who think that folks who need insurance are on welfare or lazy...think again.....

    September 16, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. haren

    Market is going up where is Hannity I don't hear from him criticizing Obama's policy.
    let us boycott the advertiser of fox news. Murdoch an outsider from Australia is dividing this country.

    September 16, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. The Voice

    Bottom-line is Baucus has a good, solid, universal plan and the Republicans are still opposing it.

    They know if healthcare reform passes they continue to loose seats in 2010. They want healthcare reform to fail. If it passes that means Obama wins and they don't want him to win.

    This is all about senate and congressional seats for the Republicans. Bottom-line!!

    September 16, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. oxbobend

    please please do not make this thing mandatory. I don't believe in "better health thru chemistry". I have a religious right to not be forced to participate in this big scam. I would like to be left alone, I do a very good job of taking care of myself, thank you. As long as high profits are the cornerstone of healthcare in this country, you will never "fix the system".

    September 16, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. wycliffe

    Even if you give the GOP all they want they still wont support it.

    September 16, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. W Spivey

    We voted people into office for this crap?

    September 16, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Scott, Tucson

    This Obamacare plan along with Cap and Trade will be the greatest raid on the taxpayers pocketbooks in history.

    September 16, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. ICARE

    We need to do more than just protest!! Can someone with a brain put up a solution? How about the solution movement? Flash up ideas on how to make it better BUT stop that angry hatred attitude toward CHANGE.

    We have been wearing the same T-shirts for 60 years now. Let's change!

    September 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Mississippi Miss

    How many employees can a 750,000 payroll support?

    Easy answer (fewer.. if they have to provide health insurance and/or pay a fine) . This version DISCOURAGES job growth because the
    taxes and penalties eat into the profit, there goes initiative to make profit and to expand businesses.

    TAX CUTS put into my Health Savings account. If I seek to maintain a healthier life style, or am blessed enough not to use it all, I am gaining wealth). REDUCE COST of Health Care (1500 available companies to choose from across state lines), caps on 'frivolous' law suits.

    GROUP buying power modeled after the Senate/House plans that they have to choose from.

    Listen to the GREAT IDEAS that are out there. Stop the Job Loss NOW!

    September 16, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. gerald

    Not this time, yes we can and YES! there will be a public option !!

    September 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Idiot_Pelosi

    It amazes me how the Big Insurance companies have become the demons, and that some GOVT run HC option is going to save the world.

    People who work for profit are more efficient and work to perform. The way you control the monopolistic profits (ie, too big of profits) is to promote competition.

    A GOVT run plan will be like every other GOVT agency, stagnant, inefficient, and not well managed. WHO (other than tax payers) will pay for this?

    You DUMOcrats who want the NAT HC PLAN should have to foot the bill. I will cheat on my taxes before I let my tax dollars pay for this monster, which will also help to DRIVE UP THE DEFICIT.

    If you believe in this PUBLIC OPTION, then fine, you pay for it, but the rest of us will NOT.

    September 16, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Lori in St Pete

    We the people voted for President Obama and the dems to enact change. Contrary to claims, the very vocal, but very small minority spitting venom at any and all things the President does, didn't vote for him or the dems in past elections, and they won't vote for them in future elections. Those of us who DID vote for them will sit it out on election day should they fail to honor the wishes of the majority. The dems should pass the bill WITH a public option and let the chips fall where they may. They'll be pleasantly surprised next election.

    September 16, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Stephee

    Why is it so hard to have a public option? Without it, there is no point in having a Health Care Reform that will make matters worse for all Americans.

    What I disagree on would be the fine. Families getting fined up to $3,800 for not having insurance is ridiculous. NOT many of us have jobs or could afford to pay for the insurance we need, even if it looks "affordable." No fines, need public option, and no holding back on what should be written and taken out.

    I lost all faith in Republicans long time ago, and about to lose faith in Democrats on this one. If everyone could just stand up to see how we are living, they'd know what needs to be done to help each and everyone of us. Mr. President, don't sign a bill that will cost us more than you think. I'm a full-time college student with no job. Paying tuition is bad enough, but insurance with no job is worse on my case. Don't leave us broke, because that's what Republicans want.

    September 16, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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