Markey: Health reform shouldn't cost $1 trillion

Healthcare reform shouldn't cost the $1 trillion price tag forecasted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), one freshman Democrat told constituents this weekend.

Rep. Betsey Markey (D-Colo.) expressed frustration at the projected cost for House health reform bills.

"We are right now spending more money than any other country on health care," Markey said at a town hall meeting, according to the Greeley Tribune. "It shouldn't cost us a trillion dollars to fix it."

"The bill is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $1 trillion over 10 years, and I do think right now that's unacceptable," she told the Tribune in a separate interview.

Those words echo concerns by other centrist Democrats about the overall cost of healthcare reform. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Sunday that a health bill would have to cost "significantly less" than is currently estimated in order to win enough votes to make it out of Congress.

Markey, a freshman lawmaker from a relatively conservative Colorado district, argued that the centerpiece of the bill, a public (or "government-run") option for consumers, would actually cost very little, but should only be funded through premiums in the plan, and not government subsidization.

She also pledged to only support a bill that addresses long-term budgetary concerns.

"I won't vote for a bill that doesn't bring efficiencies into the system and lower the cost," she told attendees of the town hall.

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