The next time we meet, healthcare reform may have survived the U.S. House--or gone down in flames. A vote is now expected Sunday on the sweeping overhaul plan, which is designed to cover nearly all of the uninsured in the U.S. and save money in the process. Indeed, as soon as the Congressional Budget Office gave this version of the bill a deficit-cutting thumbs up, some of the undecided Democrats said they'd vote in favor.
Under the new CBO analysis, the projected budget deficit would shrink by $138 billion over 10 years. The bill would cover 32 million more uninsured people, with 19 million of those starting their coverage in 2014. Medicare spending would be cut by 1.4 percent a year, rendering the public healthcare plan for seniors solvent for another nine years or more. The government would spend $466 billion on the insurance exchanges designed to help people get coverage.
According to Bloomberg, the measure lacks six votes in the House, but lawmakers think they can get those votes from among the 14 or 15 Congressional reps who remain undecided. President Obama again postponed a trip to Asia so he would be available to help corral the final "yes" votes.
Meanwhile, Republicans were looking at ways to fight provisions of the bill that won't take effect for several years. The aim would be to reverse the law as much as possible. And certain states are enacting laws that would seek to block the insurance mandate.