House Democrats unveiled a 1,000-page proposal to overhaul the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry. The ground-breaking bill includes a government-paid insurance option that would compete with private insurers, and tax increases for the wealthy.
The following is some of the immediate reaction to the legislation which is scheduled for its first debate on Thursday in the House Ways and Means Committee.
* Representative Dave Camp, the senior Republican on Ways and Means, said: Democrats put the federal government in charge of your personal health care decisions. This will lead to longer wait times to see a doctor and more treatments being denied.
Republicans believe a better way reform healthcare is to focus on bringing down the cost of health care, not simply spending $1 trillion more on it.
He said Republicans would focus on limiting liability lawsuits, reforming health insurance regulations to help small employers and individuals get coverage, and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs.
* Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 52 fiscally conservative House Democrats: The Blue Dogs are committed to passing healthcare reform. However, reform that does not meet the President's goal of substantially bringing down costs is not an option.
* Republican Senator Richard Shelby: I hope we won't get this legislation. I think we have one of the best healthcare, if not the best, healthcare system in the world and we need to build on it not radically change it, especially not be in a recession and start taxing people.
* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that all kinds of different potential sources of revenue were still on the table to finance healthcare.
A few dollars had to be raised in the short term to pay for the reform, but in the long term, we're going to bring down costs of healthcare, he said after lunch with other Democratic senators.
* President Barack Obama: This proposal controls the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by rooting out waste and fraud and promoting quality and accountability.
I look forward to continuing to work with all House members in ensuring this legislation helps all Americans and plays an essential role in reducing deficits and bringing fiscal sustainability to our nation.
(Reporting by Donna Smith and Kim Dixon in Washington; Writing by Jackie Frank; Editing by Anthony Boadle)