Post-July 4th Fireworks on Health Reform Bill

Lawmakers spent last week in their district attending parades, barbecues and fireworks displays.

This week, they returned to Capitol Hill for more fireworks. Over health care reform.


FOX has learned that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is set to visit House Democrats to discuss a major push to craft a health care overhaul package this summer. The fact that Emanuel is huddling with House Democrats and is not traveling with President Obama in Russia signals the urgency of lawmakers to forge legislation soon.


“There’s a reason he’s here and not there,” said a senior Democrat, familiar with Emanuel’s appearance.


The legislative draft that Emanuel is expected to discuss is believed to include a so-called “public option.” The public option would potentially give more Americans the opportunity to purchase health insurance from the federal government.


In addition, FOX has also learned that the House Ways and Means Committee is tinkering with a plan to tax high-income Americans to help control the cost of a health care program. Sources tell FOX the government could slap as much as a four percent tax on the income of taxpayers who earn more than $250,000 annually to defray costs.


The pricetag of the health care bill is unclear. But is believed to hover around $1 trillion.


House Democrats scrambled Tuesday to quash a media report that the cost of the package could spike to $1.5 trillion. In a statement, the three committees shepherding the health bill through the House said “this report is premature and entirely fabricated. In fact, none of the reporters working on this piece contacted our press offices to fact check their story.”