Count U.S. Rep. John Adler among the Democrats opposing the health care-reform bill up for a vote today.
Adler, D-3rd, released a statement Friday that criticizes the costs and casts doubt on the long-term success of the $1.2 trillion measure that he plans to vote against.
"Congress should not pass a bill that costs more than $1 trillion or increases the financial burden on middle-class families and small businesses," Adler said. "Health care costs are rising faster than wages and inflation, and this bill does not change this trend."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Thursday he had the 218 votes required to pass HR 3962, but backed off a bit Friday, saying, "We're very close" to that figure. Republican leaders boasted that all 177 House members would oppose the bill, which would create a new federally supervised insurance marketplace through which the uninsured could purchase coverage. U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, is among Republicans who have said they will oppose the bill.
Hoyer also said the vote could be delayed or day or two to give House leaders time to sway more votes.
Adler said his will not be one of them. He said he agrees in principle with many of the bill's tenets, including an option for government-run health care insurance. However, he feels House leaders have done little to address concerns about costs and cited several areas where they could have sliced money off the total dollar figure, including changing reimbursement guidelines for procedures related to "defensive medicine."
He also said he would not be offering any amendments to alter the bill, citing House leaders' refusal to accept them.
The bill is a sprawling piece of legislation, now spanning more than 2,000 pages, and could drastically revamp the way Americans pay and use health care. It includes a variety of tenets, in addition to the creation of a public insurance option and health insurance exchange, including:
Limiting out-of-pocket medical expenses to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families;
Banning the practice of denying health insurance coverage for pre-existing health conditions;
Imposing a 5.4 percent charge to people with incomes exceeding $500,000 or coouples with incomes exceeding $1 million;
Mandating that businesses with payrolls exceeding $500,000 pay for their employees' health care or pay the government a fee equal to 8 percent of their payroll;
Mandating that individuals buy health insurance or pay a fee to the government.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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