Per NBC's Mike Viqueira, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has a health-care reform bill ready and will send it to the Congressional Budget Office today for an evaluation of costs, according to a top aide. The measure will include a public option with the "opt out," whereby states could individually decide to remove themselves from the government plan.
The Wall Street Journal has more: "Details of the legislation could change, but its broad outlines are becoming clear. Employers with more than 50 workers wouldn't be required to provide health insurance, but they would face fines of up to $750 per employee if even part of their work force received a government subsidy to buy health insurance, this person said. A bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee had a lower fine of up to $400 per employee… The bill is expected to expand health coverage to tens of millions of Americans by giving low- and middle-income Americans subsidies to offset the cost of insurance, and expanding the Medicaid federal-state insurance program to cover a broader swath of the poor. Most people would be required to buy insurance or pay a fine, though exceptions would be made for those deemed unable to afford it."
Joe Lieberman, whom The Hill calls "one of a handful of Senate wild cards in this fall's healthcare reform debate," said his biggest concern is what it would do to the national deficit. "Insurers aren't my biggest concern -- I sued them once when I was attorney general, and I'm not afraid to end anti-trust exemptions," Lieberman said. "I am really worried about what this could do to the deficit." That's interesting, because President Obama said he wants any healthcare bill to be deficit neutral, and the CBO determined that the Finance Committee's bill is just that.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold hearings this week on the Senate climate change/energy bill.
There's something about Alaska... "In preparation for his sentencing in an Alaska bribery scheme, former oil executive Bill Allen released a tantalizing tidbit about the long-running legal allegations swirling around Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska): Allen told the Justice Department in 2007 that he had provided Young with more than $100,000 worth of gifts that the Congressman never reported. It was the first official mention of Young in connection with the Alaska corruption probe that has led to indictments against several public officials, including former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)."