After months of squabbling and tussling with each other as well as their Republican opposition, House Democrats finally produced the latest comprehensive result of their efforts in health care reform in the form of a whopping 1,990-page measure — and then proceeded to congratulate themselves in a public rally outside at the Capitol. –KA

The Washington Post:

The 1,990-page bill includes a version of the “public option” preferred by moderates and raises Medicaid eligibility levels to 150 percent of the federal poverty level for all adults, a steeper increase than in earlier drafts.

“Today we are about to deliver on the promise of making affordable, quality health care available for all Americans,” [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi said. “We are putting forth a bill that reflects our best values and addresses our greatest challenges.”

[…] The House legislation aims to provide health insurance of one form or another to 96 percent of all Americans at an expected cost of just below $900 billion over 10 years, without increasing the federal budget deficit for at least 20 years, House Democrats said.

[…] The measure includes a new provision that would require the secretary of health and human services to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries, a proposal that is anathema to pharmaceutical companies.

It would require most Americans to obtain insurance and would require employers to provide health benefits to workers or pay a penalty. Small businesses would be exempt from the employer mandate if they had payroll less than $500,000 a year, double the threshold in the Democrats’ original bill, introduced in July.

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