US senators closer to $1 trillion healthcare bill
U.S. senators on Thursday moved closer to agreement on a $1 trillion U.S. healthcare overhaul that would extend medical coverage to nearly everyone without adding to huge budget deficits, Reuters reported.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and other panel members said that reducing the cost was a significant step toward getting a final package that could gain at least some Republican support.
Baucus said panel members have narrowed talks to options that bring the price tag to about $1 trillion over 10 years, down from an earlier estimate of $1.6 trillion.
"We have options that would enable us to write a $1 trillion bill, fully paid for," Baucus told reporters after a closed-door meeting with panel members. "We're getting a lot closer to an agreement," Baucus said.
Later the group of Senate Finance Republican and Democratic negotiators issued a statement affirming their commitment to reach bipartisan agreement on a bill "that will lower costs and ensure quality, affordable care for every American."
President Barack Obama has made a healthcare plan that reins in costs and covers most of the 47 million uninsured Americans one of his top legislative priorities. He has turned up the pressure on Congress to pass healthcare reform this year and has indicated a willingness to compromise.