President Barack Obama threw his full weight behind healthcare reform yesterday attempting to inject new momentum into the legislative process that has stalled on Capitol Hill.
Unveiling a fresh $950bn proposal, Mr Obama made an “opening bid” ahead of a cross-party summit he will host on Thursday, where he will aim to convince Republicans – and wavering Democrats – to work together to overhaul the US's $2,500bn healthcare system.
However, Republicans continued to attack the president's “back-room bill” yesterday.
“It's disappointing that Democrats in Washington either aren't listening, or are completely ignoring what Americans across the country have been saying,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader.
Mr Obama's proposal largely mirrors the Senate's $829bn healthcare reform bill, which many House Democrats say is not expansive enough and Republicans consider tantamount to a government take-over of healthcare.
Among the new provisions, Mr Obama said he wanted to create a Health Insurance Rate Authority aimed at stopping insurers from arbitrarily raising insurance premiums.
The president has also advocated imposing tax for Medicare, the government health system for over 65s, on unearned income, including capital gains. The 2.9 per cent tax would apply to income including interest and rents for people earning more than $200,000, or families making more than $250,000 a year.
The White House said that the bill would be deficit neutral, with increased costs to be offset by savings and the new taxes.