Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief after a positive cost report on health care overhaul gave them a chance to rally around a Senate plan that significantly expands coverage while trimming the federal deficit.
The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the latest version of the Senate Finance Committee proposal would expand coverage to 94 percent of all eligible Americans at a 10-year cost of $829 billion.
The budget umpires added that the legislation would reduce federal deficits by $81 billion over a decade and could lead to continued reductions in federal red ink in the years beyond.
But the middle-of-the-road plan still leaves about 25 million people uninsured when fully phased in, in 2019. Of those, nearly 17 million would be U.S. citizens or legal residents. Nearly 50 million U.S. residents now lack coverage.
The White House hailed the report as proof of what President Barack Obama has insisted all along. “The analysis confirms that we can provide stability and security for Americans with insurance and affordable options for uninsured Americans without adding a dime to the deficit – and saving money over the long term,” said spokesman Reid Cherlin.