WASHINGTON -- There seems to be more serious talk now in Washington of including some form of a government-run health care option in a final bill. Talks among Senate Democrats and the White House are still going on behind closed doors to craft a final proposal.
The health care talk and vibe coming from Democrats on the hill is becoming extremely positive.
"We're going to get healthcare reform passed this year. Meaningful health care reform passed this year," Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said.
CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody provided an analysis of the public option debate on the Noon Newschannel program. Click here to watch.
Ed Haislmaier, an expert in health care policy with the Heritage Foundation, also joined CBN News to discuss the cost of health care reform. Click play to watch.
"While Senate Republicans continue to do delay and divert and slow down this legislation, premiums continue to skyrocket," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.
So what will reform look like? Well it may include some sort of public option. Moderate Democrats like Nebraska's Ben Nelson and others are in discussions with liberals about some sort of compromise, possibly a trigger option that would go into effect if private insurance companies don't offer what Washington considers affordable coverage.
President Barack Obama promised during the campaign that cameras would be present during health care negotiations but right now on Capitol Hill, at this key juncture of crafting a final bill, White House staff is meeting with top Senate Democrats behind closed doors.
Democrats say once a final bill emerges, the American people will have plenty of time to digest it. Republicans say they may feel sick and queasy afterwards. The president says he won't sign a bill that adds a dime to the deficit. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate leaders say their bills meets that requirement. But in an interview with CBN News, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich disputes that assumption.
"There are no serious people in this city, none who believe that the health bill they're writing is not going to increase the deficit. It's just not true. And you go through item after item like this. There are pretty good studies now that they're going to raise the cost of health insurance by $4,000 a family, yet he wasn't going to raise the cost to anybody if you had less than $250,000 year in income," Gingrich said.
Conservative budget experts like Republican Judd Gregg say this health care bill is going to cost closer to $2 trillion when all the costs and revenues are fully phased in. And now this week the Democrats are trying to increase Medicare payments to doctors that would another $250 billion to the deficit.
Gingrich says this administration and this president have a real credibility issue.
"This is a man who recently went to the joint session of Congress speaking to the entire nation and said we will not add a dime to the deficit. Now that is so completely, fundamentally untrue that I'm not sure how you have the rest of the conversation so to try to take anything he says as though it has meaning, I think is very dangerous because the only thing you can count on, even worse than the Nixon administration, this is an administration where you better look at what they do not at what they say, because there's no relationship between the two," Gingrich said.