Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is turning up the heat on the last moderates wavering on the health-care reform package. The bill, unveiled late Wednesday, would cut the federal budget deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years—the biggest savings of any Democratic health-care package offered—by cutting Medicare spending and adding some taxes, including a tax on insurers who offer “Cadillac” plans. Though liberal House members will be pleased that the bill has a provision for a public insurance option that would expand coverage to 94 percent of Americans, states would be able to “opt out” of it. Reid’s strategy might already be working: Key moderates Senators Bill Nelson (D-NE) Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) were more optimistic about debate being able to proceed. One hitch could be the restrictions on abortion; Reid’s bill doesn’t limit funding of the procedure as much as the House bill.
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