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Backer of Senate legislation says ‘the problem is still going to be there’
Even as Democrats seek the biggest expansion of health coverage in decades, as many as 23 million people could still be without insurance by 2018, illustrating the complexity of achieving the long-held Democratic goal of universal health care.
The legislation that the Senate passed Christmas Eve, which is expected to resemble closely the final bill that is hashed out between the House and Senate over the next month, would leave about 8 percent of the population under age 65 without health insurance, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It would extend insurance to 31 million of an estimated 54 million who would have no coverage without the legislation.
"The impact of the reform overall is that we can focus more on care and less on how we pay for the uninsured, but the problem is still going to be there," said Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, a lobbying group that has endorsed the Democratic plan.