The House passed a bill that would prevent Medicare premiums from rising sharply for some senior citizens. The legislation would prevent about 11 million Medicare Part B recipients from having to shoulder more than their share of an annual premium increase because of complexities in federal law and the likelihood that Social Security recipients won't get a bump in their benefits next year to cover the cost of the premium increase.
A central issue in the health care overhaul debate has been how much the legislation will cost taxpayers. But as Senate Finance Committee members head into their markup, Democrats on the panel are becoming increasingly vocal about how much the bill will cost people required to buy insurance.
The big insurer Humana has fired the opening volley in the great battle of the health overhaul pay-fors at the Senate Finance Committee, but the health industry may have a tough time avoiding the combination of cuts and fees that Committee Chairman Max Baucus has laid out to pay for his overhaul measure covering some 94 percent of the American people.