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Hoyer Sees Healthcare Bill By August Recess Hoyer Sees Healthcare Bill By August Recess

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NJ Daily / HEALTH

Hoyer Sees Healthcare Bill By August Recess

July 5, 2009

The House will seek to pass healthcare reform legislation before the August recess despite Republican claims that the Democrats' proposal would be too costly and counterproductive, Majority Leader Hoyer told Fox News Sunday.

"The American people understand that the healthcare system in this country is in trouble," he said, calling for a system that is affordable and accessible to all. Hoyer said the House bill will include several proposals that Minority Leader Boehner, who appeared on the same show, characterized as deal-breakers for the GOP.

One is the provision of a public health insurance option to compete with private plans. CBO estimates 23 million people would switch to the government option, which Boehner said is "not the way to go."

 

The legislation also would require that individuals and employers participate in either a public or private healthcare plan and could impose fines for noncompliance.

Hoyer said Wal-Mart and other major American businesses support that concept but Boehner argued the proposal would shift a $400 billion burden onto the backs of employers and result in higher costs, rationing and lower-quality care.

Hoyer gave little detail about how the healthcare overhaul would be paid for and would not comment on a proposal by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus and ranking member Charles Grassley to tax employer-provided "Cadillac plans," which they argue promote overuse of healthcare services and increase the cost of care.

"If we're trying to create jobs in America, you can't do it by imposing more taxes on a big government healthcare plan," Boehner said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told CBS's "Face the Nation" that some form of a public option, which President Obama supports and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has proposed, will be part of a final package.

But the Senate Finance Committee, on which he serves, remains divided over the best approach.

During an appearance on the same show, Grassley said he opposes the idea. "I'm going to make sure we don't nationalize healthcare," he said.

Grassley and Schumer both said they felt confident that a compromise could be reached by the August recess.

Vice President Biden and Hoyer also offered support for the economic stimulus package, saying it was the right approach given the grim circumstances.

"The truth is there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited," Biden said on ABC's "This Week" program. "We believe it is the right package, given the circumstances we are in."

What the Obama administration has to do is make sure the $750 billion in stimulus funds is spent well and transparently. "It is my job and I think we're doing it well," he said.

Hoyer said he was not satisfied with the results of the stimulus thus far and is "disappointed that it hasn't done more."

"This was supposed to be about jobs, jobs and more jobs. It turned out to be nothing more than spending, spending and more spending," Boehner said.

Biden predicted that during the second 100 days "you're going to see a lot more jobs created," as spending on things like highway contracts begin to roll out. "There's a lot going on out there," he added.

But Biden said it was premature to say a second stimulus package is needed.

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