How Health Care Bill Would Net $81B

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Thursday the Finance Committee will vote on its health care reform plan next week. According to a new report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the plan meets the president's requirement that it not add a dime to the deficit.

CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes has more about what's in it - and how much it would cost.

The new cost estimates give health care reform a much-needed boost.

Sen. Max Baucus said that he was "pleased" - pleased because congressional number-crunchers now say the $829 billion price tag for the Finance Committee's bill would be more than offset by fees on drugmakers, taxes on top-dollar insurance plans and trims to Medicare.

The result - a net savings to the government of $81 billion over 10 years.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care

It's estimated the bill would allow 29 million Americans who don't currently have coverage to buy it.

That group includes Javier Salinas. His family of four could get a subsidy of $5,500 a year for health insurance, because they earn less than $88,000 annually.

"I can't sleep thinking if one of my kids is gonna get sick, or something else," said Salinas, the kitchen manager Port of Piraeus restaurant in Washington, D.C.. "But with that help from the government it's a peace of mind."

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Wealthier Americans would be required to buy insurance or pay a penalty - up to $750 dollars a year - while businesses with more than 50 workers would have to pay up to $400 for every low-income worker they don't cover.

That means the owner of the D.C. restaurant where Salinas works would be exempt, because he only has 32 employees. His responsibilities wouldn't change at all.

"Thank God, thank God they wouldn't change at all because this year was our worst year ever in business," said Frankie Doyle, the restaurant owner.

Republicans still oppose the bill, despite the lower price tag.

"The fact is the numbers are arrived at by taxing businesses, by taxing people who have insurance, as well as cutting benefits for seniors," said Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. "That's not an acceptable health care reform recipe."

But the recipe is still being written. This bill is only one of five. It has to be reconciled with the others - so all these figures are bound to change.
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