WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority, remaking US health care, took another step closer to becoming reality Thursday as his top House allies unveiled sweeping compromise legislation.
“Today we are about to deliver on the promise of making affordable, quality health care available for all Americans, laying the foundation for a brighter future for generations to come,” said Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
With time running short before a self-imposed year-end deadline, the House of Representatives could vote as early as next week on the measure, which includes a government-backed insurance plan to compete with private firms.
Democrats estimated the measure would cost $894 billion over 10 years and expand health insurance to 36 million Americans, helping to extend coverage to 96 percent of the population of the world’s richest nation.
Democrats in the US Senate have crafted their own version, and if the two chambers approve rival measures they must forge compromise legislation to send to Obama to sign into law, a process that could easily run into 2010.
“Today, we are one step further on a long, hard road: The road to bring quality, affordable health care to every one of our fellow citizens,” said Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Pelosi and Hoyer spoke at a rally on the same US Capitol steps where Obama took the oath of office nine months ago vowing changes that would bring the US health care system more in line with other rich democracies.
The president hailed the House legislation as a “historic step forward” and cast the measure as a blow against private health insurers and for taming runaway US health care costs.
“We can’t wait another year for health insurance reform,” Obama said in a statement that acknowledged “there will [be] more steps and much spirited debate before a bill reaches my desk.”
None of Obama’s Republican foes in the House has yet voted in favor of the Democrats’ health care proposals this year, and an internal Democratic party schism over how much of a role to give the government has complicated passage in both chambers.
Representative Eric Cantor, the number-two House Republican, has denounced the Democratic approach as a “trillion-dollar government takeover of health care.”
Republicans and some swing-vote Democrats say they fear a larger government role will drive private insurers out of business and result in lower quality of care.
The proposed changes would be the most wide-ranging overhaul of the way the United States manages its health care since the 1965 creation of the government-funded Medicare program for the elderly.
Parliamentarian rules that Speaker Pelosi cannot call Trump’s comments racist — banning her from speaking all day
The Parliamentarian for the House of Representatives ruled against Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday for declaring President Donald Trump's comments racist on the floor.
"In a highly unusual rebuke to the speaker, the House parliamentarian said Pelosi’s comments were not in order and should be stricken from record," CNN's Manu Raju reported Tuesday.
"House now voting on GOP motion to strike her words from record, but it will fail," he predicted.
The ruling means Speaker Pelosi is banned from holding the floor for the rest of the day absent a vote by the full House to restore her privileges.
‘It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic’: Nicolle Wallace recalls the Republicans who once denounced Trump’s racism
MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Tuesday let loose on the Republican Party for refusing to stand up against President Donald Trump's racism.
Following President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four young women of color in Congress, the House of Representatives is debating a resolution to condemn the commander-in-chief's racism.
Not a single Republican voted to allow debate on the anti-racism resolution.
Presiding House Dem bangs gavel and quits after GOP throws a fit over Pelosi calling Trump’s tweet racist
A House Speaker's words have not been taken down from the record since 1984, but Tuesday, Republicans waged a war against Speaker Nancy Pelosi for having the temerity to call President Donald Trump's recent tweets racist.
Trump told four Congresswomen of color to go back to the country they came from. Democrats sought to pass a resolution saying that the tweets were "disgusting, disparaging and racist," but Republicans said doing so violates House rules.
After an hour of discussion between the two parties, a frustrated Congressman Rev. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), acting as the chiar, responded.