House Democrats plan to unveil health bill Tuesday

By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — House Democrats are planning to unveil details of a health-care overhaul bill on Tuesday, as President Barack Obama ratchets up pressure on Congress to quickly send him legislation to cover nearly 50 million uninsured Americans and make good on one of his chief campaign goals.

“It is our plan to introduce the legislation tomorrow,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday, though she cautioned it won’t be a finished product.

Pelosi’s office said a press conference has been scheduled for 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

Democrats in the House and Senate have been aiming to pass health-care reform bills before their August breaks. Democrats and Obama are attempting to cover the 47 million uninsured Americans, set up a public health insurance option to compete with private insurers and require employers to cover their workers.

Obama discussed health-care reform at the White House on Monday with Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.

The president is pressing Congress hard to finish work on health-care reform, one of his top domestic priorities.

“Don’t bet against us. We are going to make this thing happen,” he said Monday.

But Republicans have vehemently opposed a public insurance plan and Democrats haven’t settled on how to fund an overhaul. One option, floated by Rangel, would fund reform through taxes on wealthy Americans. But that proposal isn’t getting traction with some moderate Democrats in the House and the Senate, and Republicans are slamming it.

“We don’t need to build on taxes here in a recession,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., on Tuesday in a CNBC interview.

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