U.S. health bill costs 940 billion dollars, Democrats ready to vote

08:25, March 19, 2010      

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U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attends an event highlighting health care reform at the Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, March 18, 2010. U.S. House Democratic leaders unveiled their final version of health insurance reform bill Thursday, setting stage for a final vote in the House on Sunday. The bill is estimated to cost 940 billion U.S. dollars in 10 years. (Xinhua/Wang Fengfeng)

U.S. Democratic leaders unveiled the final version of the health insurance reform bill Thursday, setting the stage for a vote this weekend in the House of Representatives. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill will cost 940 billion U.S. dollars over the next 10 years, while cutting the federal deficit by 138 billion dollars.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer unveiled the bill in the Capitol, with Pelosi saying the bill is making "history" and "progress."

According to CBO figures announced earlier in the day, the overhaul is estimated to cost some 940 billion dollars over 10 years, in the meantime cutting federal deficit by 138 billion dollars. The bill is estimated to cut 1.2 trillion dollars in deficit in its second decade.

It will give coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans by 2016.

However, CBO said the estimate is preliminary, because it "has not thoroughly examined the reconciliation proposal to verify its consistency with the previous draft."

The favorable estimate is a boost to Democratic leaders, which would help them convince House Democrats who are unsure of the bill. With CBO's assessments made public, the House can publish the text of the bill for 72 hours of review before a vote in the Chamber.

The Democrats are setting the stage for a vote on Sunday. Hoyer said Americans would benefit if the House passes the bill, "as we will on Sunday."


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