AP: Lawmakers clash over cost of health care overhaul

AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Hoping to make history, the Senate set off on its major overhaul of the nation’s health care system Wednesday, but its first steps were quickly overtaken by fresh cost concerns and partisan anger. An ambitious timetable that called for completing committee action in early summer seemed in danger of slipping away.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee began work on a bill encompassing President Barack Obama’s top legislative priority. It marked the first time since President Bill Clinton’s ill-starred attempt in the early 1990s that Congress was tackling such a broad overhaul.

But the more important Senate Finance Committee announced it would delay action, as senators sought to retool their proposals to slash the cost by more than one-third, from an intial $1.6 trillion over 10 years, to less than $1 trillion. Of the five major panels working on health care, Finance has the best odds of coming up with a bipartisan proposal that could overcome gathering opposition.

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