The Washington Post previews the House health-care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will outline this morning. "The House legislation aims to provide health insurance of one form or another to almost all Americans at an expected cost just below $900 billion over 10 years, without increasing the federal budget deficit for at least 20 years, House Democrats said. Pelosi (D-Calif.) was awaiting official data Wednesday night from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."
The New York Times adds, "The cost would be offset by new taxes and by cutbacks in Medicare, so the bill would not increase the federal budget deficit in the next 10 years or in the decade after that. The new bill, like an earlier version, retains a surtax on high-income people, but increases the thresholds. The tax would hit married couples with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $1 million a year and individuals over $500,000 — just three-tenths of 1 percent of all households, Democrats said."
The bill will have a public option, but it won't be that "robust" version, per The Hill: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi is to unveil a health overhaul bill Thursday that includes the public health insurance option favored by her party's centrists. Pelosi (D-Calif.) will introduce a plan similar to what a group of Blue Dog Democrats negotiated in July to get a healthcare bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The proposal calls for the officials who run the public plan to negotiate rates individually with physicians and hospitals."
Turning to the Senate side, Roll Call writes: "In his quest to pass health care reform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is pursuing a potentially risky, step-by-step strategy that banks on momentum from the debate and a hard push from the White House to get the bill over the finish line this year."
Climate change has taken a backseat to health care for now, but at some point it will come to the fore. "Senate Democrats are hopeful that despite their acrimonious past, Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) can find middle ground on climate change legislation before electoral politics kills the issue for good next year," Roll Call says. "Boxer and Baucus will be at the center of the looming climate change debate."
There's no crying on the House floor... "Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) broke down in tears several times on the House floor Wednesday afternoon as he read letters from people who said their loved ones died because they were uninsured. The letters were sent to Grayson through namesofthedead.com -- a Web site he unveiled on the House floor last week to call attention to the number of people who have died because they did not have access to health care."