Officials from the Obama administration on Wednesday briefed both members of Congress and advocates from the health care community about the budget proposal they'll unveil formally on Thursday. As noted below, they are proposing to allocate $634 billion over ten years towards health care reform, the bulk of it to expand insurance coverage. And since that won't fully fund universal coverage, they propose to work with Congress on finding the remaining money.
Here's the reaction from one senior congressional staffer:
We of course would have been happy if there was more, since we probably need at least twice as much, but It is a very significant commitment. They are very up-front that it is a down payment and they will work with us to find more financing--so we are pleased that the President is clearly committed to comprehensive health reform and his budget reflects that.
That quote captures the prevailing sentiment, as best as I've been able to assess it in this short time span. But a few staffers expressed concern, as well. Chief among the concerns: Where are they supposed to find the rest of the money if Obama is already imposing a new tax on the rich just to raise this much?
More to come soon...