Senate Finance Committee negotiators say they have nearly completed a health care bill. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the draft bill would enable states to run demonstration projects with federal support to reduce medical liability lawsuits. One proposal is to require lawsuits to have a certificate of merit from experts before they can proceed.
The bill's cost, estimated to be $880 billion over 10 years would be paid for by spending cuts or new revenues. In fact, Conrad says the bill is a little bit to the good. The lower costs result from changes to the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid drug rebates.
Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., planed a Monday evening meeting with other Finance Committee Democrats to bring them up to date on the talks. The "Gang of Six" will talk with state governors on Tuesday to discuss how much of the cost of a Medicaid expansion the states would be required to pay. Negotiators are expected to produce a draft bill by the end of this week.