2.25.2009

Obama Budget Would Create $634 Billion Health-Care Fund

Great news from WaPo:

President Obama intends to release a budget tomorrow that creates a 10-year, $634 billion "reserve fund" to partially pay for a vast expansion of the U.S. health care system, an overhaul that many experts project will cost as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.

Obama would pay for the expansion by trimming tax breaks for the wealthy and tightening payments to insurers, hospitals and physicians, according to a senior administration official.

By first identifying a large pot of money to underwrite health care reform -- before laying out a proposal on who would be covered or how -- Obama hopes to signal his willingness to negotiate with Congress over the details of an eventual plan.

"We wanted to get this process going by putting some serious resources on the table," said the official, who was not permitted to speak on the record until formal release of the budget blueprint. "This is a reserve fund, instead of a 700-page plan. We learned the lessons of the past and want to work interactively with Congress. This is a first step."

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