On November 8, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its first version of the Healthcare Reform Bill. It was announced on October 29, 2009. It cost $894 billion over 10 years. That's $40 billion more than the original Senate bill and just below President Barack Obama's original target of $900 billion. It reduced the deficit by $104 billion and saved $460 billion over 10 years by levying a surtax on high income earners.
Like Obama's original health care reform plan, the House Health Care Reform Bill provided a government-run health insurance program, similar to Medicare. It offered direct subsidies to uninsured people to help them buy insurance through exchanges.
The House Health Care Reform Bill required individuals to buy insurance and all but the smallest employers to offer health coverage to workers. It also:
- Made sure private health care insurers covered those with pre-existing conditions.
- Put the health care insurance industry under federal antitrust laws.
- Levied a 5.4% surtax on individuals making more than $500,000 and couples earning more than $1 million.
- Expanded Medicaid to those with incomes up to 150% of the poverty level.