According to Democratic sources, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Senate version of health care reform will cost $849 billion over the next ten years. The CBO also predicts the legislation would reduce the deficit by $127 billion over the first ten years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to hold debate on the bill as early as Saturday. Some of the reforms in the bill include:
- Requiring most Americans to carry health insurance
- Mandating that large companies provide coverage to their workers
- Banning certain insurance company practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions
- Setting up new insurance marketplaces — called exchanges — primarily for those who now have a hard time getting or keeping coverage
The test will now be whether or not Reid can get the 60 votes needed to pass the bill. The first procedural vote on the bill should take place by the end of the week.