White House details $634 billion healthcare plan

March 2, 2009 1:56:14 PM PST
The President is asking Congress for 634 billion dollars over the next 10 years for healthcare. The government's massive health insurance programs for the elderly and poor would grow more slowly under President Barack Obama's proposed budget. Obama wants to squeeze Medicaid and Medicare spending - including slimmer payments to private insurance plans - to help create a 10-year, $634 billion fund billed as a "down payment" on health care reform. Experts say the goal to provide healthcare and health insurance for all could cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years. Overall spending for the Health and Human Services Department - including discretionary spending, Medicare and Medicaid - would grow from $764 billion to $821 billion. That's a much slower pace than in recent years. Here are some of the specifics... in how the money could be spent. The budget proposes to boost cancer research at the National Institutes of Health by 6 billion dollars. The plan also calls for cutting drug costs by allowing imports from developed countries... And fighting drug companies that block cheaper generics from entering the market. Also, a major portion of the plan focuses on health *insurance - it'll require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions... Reign in malpractice insurance premiums... And give small businesses a tax credit for offering health insurance to workers.

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