White House Seeks Additional Funds to Expand Coverage
By Lori Montgomery
Even as President Obama was extracting a pledge for health industry lobbyists to voluntarily rein in medical costs, the administration was struggling to come up with cash to pay for an expansion of coverage to millions more Americans. An initial proposal to raise $634 billion over the next 10 years fell short of that goal upon re-examination, so the White House has a new proposal that tacks on nearly $60 billion more in tax changes.
The new plan includes a variety measures aimed at closing loopholes in the tax code and improving compliance with existing tax laws. The biggest changes would affect how assets are valued for the purposes of the estate tax.
Experts estimate it will cost between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion over the next decade to expand health insurance to 46 million people who do not have coverage today. That's why the administration always referred to its budget offerings as a "downpayment" on comprehensive reform.
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