House to vote on $940b health plan Sunday: Lawmaker

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama's historic health overhaul legislation would cut 130 billion dollars from the US budget deficit through 2019, according to figures provided by Democratic lawmakers.

The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that the bill, Obama's top domestic priority, will cost about 940 billion dollars over the same period, but cut 1.2 trillion in its second ten years, they said.

Those estimates are politically critical because Obama set a trillion-dollar ceiling on the overhaul and had said he wanted it not to increase the ballooning US budget deficit.

The CBO found that the plan would extend health coverage to some 32 million Americans who currently lack it, Democrats said.

The CBO also found that the legislation would lead to cuts in waste from the Medicare government-run care for the elderly and extend the hugely popular program's solvency by at least nine years, they said.

The US House of Representatives will vote Sunday on President Barack Obama's historic health overhaul and he is expected to be in Washington despite plans to leave for Asia, a top ally said Thursday.

Asked whether Obama should postpone his travel to Australia and Indonesia until the House of Representatives takes up the legislation, Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen replied: "I think he will be here."

Van Hollen said Democrats will likely post the full text of the legislation on Thursday and will keep their pledge to have the bill online for 72 hours before holding a vote.

"Under the 72-hour rule, that would mean Sunday would be the earliest vote, and that would be what our target day is, yes," Van Hollen said.