Tuesday, July 14, 2009

House rolls out plan to make health care a right

WASHINGTONHouse Democrats on Tuesday rolled out a far-reaching $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans, with medical providers, employers and the wealthiest picking up most of the tab.

The federal government would be responsible for ensuring that every person, regardless of income or the state of their health, has access to an affordable insurance plan. Individuals and employers would have new obligations to get coverage, or face hefty penalties.

Health care overhaul is President Barack Obama's top domestic priority, and his goal is to slow rising costs and provide coverage to nearly 50 million uninsured Americans.

Democratic leaders said they would push the measure through committee and toward a vote in the full House by month's end, while the pace of activity quickened on the other side of the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wanted floor debate to begin a week from Monday. Other officials said that timetable was likely to slip. Even so, it underscored a renewed sense of urgency......

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