Pelosi unveils new Health Care Bill from the steps of the Capitol.

pelosi_cruellaWell folks, its just around the corner……

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress was “on the cusp of delivering on the promise of making affordable, quality health insurance available to every American.”

Officials said the measure, once fully phased-in over several years, would extend coverage to 96 percent of Americans. Its principal mechanism is creation of a new government-regulated insurance “exchange” where private companies would sell policies in competition with the government. Federal subsidies would be available to millions of lower-income individuals and families to help them afford the policies, and to small businesses as an incentive to offer coverage to their workers.

Large firms would be required to cover workers, and most individuals would be required to carry insurance.

Obama praised the bill, which was developed without Republican input.

The House legislation includes critical reforms to the insurance industry, so that Americans will no longer have to worry that they will be denied coverage, or that their coverage will be dropped or watered down when they need it most. I’m also pleased that the bill includes a public option offered in an exchange,” he said in a statement released shortly after the unveiling.

No Republicans are expected to vote for the sweeping legislation, which would raise taxes on upper-income earners and cut Medicare payments to insurers, hospitals and other providers to cover a price tag that costs $894 billion over 10 years. But Democrats control 256 seats in the House, and can afford about 38 defections on the vote and still prevail.

Pelosi has also said the bill would strip the health insurance industry of a long-standing exemption from antitrust laws covering market allocation, price fixing and bid rigging. Democratic officials said the bill also would give the Federal Trade Commission authority to look into the health insurance industry at its own initiative. The officials spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to pre-empt a formal announcement.

While precise figures were not immediately available, it appeared the legislation would target the drug industry for more than the $80 billion pharmaceutical firms agreed to contribute toward health care in a deal earlier this year with the White House and key senators. But the industry managed to come away with a provision worth billions: 12 years of market protection for high-tech drugs to combat cancer, Parkinson’s and other deadly diseases.

Medical device makers also took a hit, with a 2.5 percent excise tax on sales of their products that is reported to cost the industry $20 billion over the next decade. A $40 billion fee on those businesses was included in a Senate Finance Committee-approved version of the legislation, but Reid is considering cutting it by as much as half.

And that’s all folks!!!

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