Health overhaul to cut deficit by $100 billion: Hoyer

Medical records clerks work in Clinica Sierra Vista's East Bakersfield Community Health Center in Bakersfield, California October 20, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Thursday that sweeping healthcare overhaul legislation was on track for passage by the U.S. House of Representatives and would cut the deficit by more than $100 billion in the first 10 years.

Expanding healthcare coverage will cost about $940 billion over 10 years. But revenue increases and savings in the bill will cover those costs, and Hoyer said Congressional Budget Office estimates to be released on Thursday would show the deficit would be reduced by $1 trillion in the subsequent decade.

The healthcare overhaul will result in “the largest deficit reduction of any bill adopted by Congress since 1993,” Hoyer said. An aide said the amount of deficit reduction in the first 10 years would likely be between $120 billion and $130 billion.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democratic leaders have been struggling to finish work on a final package of changes to a Senate-passed version of healthcare reform and line up the 216 House votes needed to pass it.

Hoyer said the effort is picking up momentum.

“We’re on track for a Sunday vote,” Hoyer said.

Reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by David Alexander