Senators working on health care overhaul
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senators working to give President Barack Obama a comprehensive health care overhaul said Thursday they had figured out how to pare back the complex legislation to keep costs from crashing through a $1 trillion, 10-year ceiling.
The announcement from Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and other lawmakers amounted to a small, parting gift to Obama on his top domestic priority as Congress prepares to leave town for its weeklong July 4 recess. It moved Congress a bit closer to a deal on legislation to lower costs and provide coverage to nearly 50 million Americans who lack it.
It also capped two weeks of tough going for health care negotiations on Capitol Hill as price tags as high as $1.6 trillion over 10 years sent senators back to the drawing board and forced deadlines to be repeatedly reset.
“We have options that would enable us to write a $1 trillion bill, fully paid for,” Baucus said.
Baucus declined to detail how the costs were being cut, but options included difficult sacrifices like potentially delaying an expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor.
Others have said the changes made in recent days would lower the cost of government subsidies for those who cannot afford insurance, as well as pare back a planned 10-year series of rate increases for doctors serving Medicare patients.
S.C. gov says he’s focused on family
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford tells reporters staking out his beach home that he’s focusing on his family right now.
He emerged briefly Thursday from the Sullivans Island home and rolled down the window of his car to talk. Asked if he’s planning to resign, he shook his head no.
Sanford publicly admitted Wednesday that he’s been having an affair with a woman in Argentina whom he had just returned from visiting. He says he’ll reimburse the state for the cost of a trade mission last year where he “made a mistake” and saw her.
He spent Thursday at the beach home with his wife, who says she asked him to leave two weeks ago so she could come to terms with his infidelity.
GM to build small car in Michigan
DETROIT (AP) – Michigan has won the high-stakes competition with two other states to build General Motors Corp.’s next-generation subcompact car, a person briefed on the decision said Thursday.
The announcement that the car will be built at a retooled midsize car factory in Orion Township near Pontiac will come today, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public. It will save about 1,200 jobs at the factory, which had been slated to shut down later this year.