News / USA

US Democrats Begin Final Push for Health Care Reform

U.S. Democratic lawmakers are set to meet with President Barack Obama Tuesday as they begin their final push to deliver sweeping U.S. health care legislation.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will meet with the president to discuss strategy before the final negotiations on the Senate and House versions of the reform begin.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and number-two Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, will join the meeting by conference call.

Democrats are hoping to secure final passage of a health care bill before President Obama delivers the annual State of the Union address to Congress, expected by early February.

Democratic leaders could choose to bypass a formal conference between the House and Senate on the legislation.  The move would shut out Republican lawmakers trying to delay the final negotiations.

The House passed a health care reform bill in November, and the Senate passed its version of the bill in December.  Differences between the two must be addressed before they are merged into a single bill.  The House and Senate will then vote on the final legislation before it is sent to President Obama to sign.

The most controversial difference is that the House version includes a new government health insurance plan that would compete with private insurers.  The Senate bill has no such provision.  Democratic leaders in the Senate abandoned the idea when some in their own party threatened to vote against the bill if it contained the so-called "public option."

There also is a big difference in how the two bills would be financed.

The Senate legislation would be paid for by fees on insurance companies, drug makers and medical device makers, as well as an increase in the payroll tax that workers pay for Medicare - the government health insurance plan for the elderly.  The House version would impose a 5.4-percent surtax on people earning more than $500,000 a year, and it would levy a tax on the sale of medical devices.

The Senate bill would extend health care coverage to about 94 percent of legal U.S. residents under the age of 65, and the House bill would cover 97 percent.  That compares to about 83 percent now.

Senate Republicans say the health care bill will raise insurance costs for families and small businesses and take money from the government's medical program for the elderly.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid