‘Blue Dogs’ Announce Progress Made in Healthcare Reform Bill

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CNN is reporting a group of fiscally conservative House Democrats announced Wednesday they had reached a deal with the chamber's Democratic leaders on a bill that would revamp the nation's healthcare system.

Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, speaking for four of the “Blue Dog” Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Wednesday that the agreement called for the panel to begin debating the bill later in the day, but for the full House not to vote until after the August recess.

Ross said the deal between four Blue Dogs on the House committee, the House Democratic leadership and the White House lowers the cost of the House health care reform plan by $100 billion and also exempts businesses with payrolls below $500,000 from having to provide health coverage for workers. He also said the bill's government-funded public insurance option — a key provision for President Obama and Democratic leaders — would be a choice for consumers instead of coverage forced on people without health insurance.

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