Health Care Battle Heats Up as Vote Approaches

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WASHINGTON -- The battle over the health care is more intense than ever as Sunday's House vote draws near.

Republican lawmakers warn the bill is far too expensive and will hurt the economy while Democrats say the measure will give coverage to those who need it.

Last Ditch Lobby Effort

A lingering handful of undecided rank-and-file Democrats have prompted congressional leaders step up lobbying efforts for President Obama's sweeping health care legislation.

"We will make history and we will make progress by passing this legislation," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

GOP Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia spoke with CBN News about the opposition to this health care bill.  Click play for his comments following Jennifer Wishon's report.

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As Democratic leaders work to organize their members, Republicans in the House and Senate are proceeding in lockstep opposition to the bill.

"They are still going to spend a trillion-dollars to impose government run health care on the American people. The American people want no part of it," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

GOP Balks at Price Tag

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will cost $940 billion over 10 years. However, a Senate report from last summer points to the federal government's poor track record on cost projections.

When Medicare was created in 1965, Congress estimated the hospital insurance plan would cost about $9 billion a year by 1990. But actual spending in 1990 was $67 billion. Even adjusted for inflation, the program still cost 165 percent more than estimated.

Meanwhile, conservative lawmakers are balking at tax hikes included in the plan, including a 3.8 percent tax on investment incomes earned by individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples earning $250,000.

The plan also calls for fines on businesses who don't offer health insurance for their employees.

And it requires individuals to purchase insurance -- a rule the IRS would be responsible for enforcing, forcing the agency to find out if people have enough health care coverage.

Scholars Question Constitutionality

As Democrats ponder whether to use the "deem and pass" procedure, which allows House members to avoid casting a vote on the substance of the bill, attorneys general in several states are lining up to sue.

Legal scholars question whether such a maneuver is constitutional since the Supreme Court has declared the House and Senate must pass "precisely the same text" before a bill can become law.

While the debate intensifies in Washington, American voters are also getting louder.

"Some people think government is the answer," protestor Kay Errotabery said. "The government is the problem."

Meanwhile, House leaders are waiting on a letter of support from Senate Democrats that guarantees they'll pass the package of changes the House is proposing.

House leaders hope the move will reassure members who fear they could be left out to dry if the Senate doesn't approve the House plan.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at