'Obamacare 2.0' to Limit Insurance Rate Hikes

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is unveiling his own health care program on Monday since Congress has failed to pass a measure after months of debate and backroom deals.

Top Democratic officials are hoping to pass the bill with just 51 votes in the U.S. Senate.

A key feature of the president's new plan gives the government the power to deny or roll back what Washington considers "egregious" price increases on insurance.

It also includes subsidies for low-income families and banning denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. In addition, the president's proposal expands Medicaid. However, it does not include a government run public option.

Click here for more on this new health care proposal as well as an update on the CPAC conference in Wasghinton, D.C., with CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody.

Rate Hike Controversy

The power to deny rate increases may be the most controversial issue, coming after WellPoint Anthem Blue Cross raised its prices 39 percent in California.

Anthem blamed the rate increase on rising medical costs and customers who are getting older and ill at the same time that younger, healthier people are dropping their coverage.

The administration's plan comes just days before a Feb. 25 White House televised summit with Republicans and Democrats. The president's goal is to create momentum to move the stalled process forward.

"I don't want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points," Obama said in his weekly address.

A Public Relations Stunt?

However, some Republican leaders are skeptical of the new plan. They say they're willing to come half way if the Senate and House health care bills are scrapped. Otherwise, they see the meeting as a PR stunt.

"If they're going to lay out the plan they want to pass four days in advance, then what are we discussing on Thursday?" Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Fox News Sunday.

"Democrats spell summit S-E-T-U-P," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told NBC's Meet the Press. "And all this is going to be is some media event used as a preamble to shove through Obamacare 2.0, and we're not going to have any of that."

Republicans say advancing the president's health care reform goes against the will of public.

Democrats Try to 'Reconcile' the Matter

Meanwhile, Democrats have their own concerns. Senate party members are expected to try to the pass legislation by a parliamentary tool called reconciliation. That would require the White House to lobby lawmakers to focus on health care, when many would rather work on the public's number one concern, which is creating jobs.

*Originally published February 22, 2010.

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