Senator Johanns says health care reform could cost one trillion dollars

Omaha, NE – Nebraska's Junior Senator says health care reform could cost more than one trillion dollars.

Senator Mike Johanns' comments came as the Senate takes up a health care reform bill sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus. Baucus, a Democrat, introduced a health care reform package last week. Baucus' bill would, among other things, provide a tax credit for consumers to buy health insurance. Right now the cost of Baucus' health care package is $848 billion. But Senator Johanns says its actual cost will likely exceed one trillion dollars.

Johanns says the new taxes and fees associated with Baucus' legislation would take effect immediately, but consumers wouldn't see benefits for four years. He says it also takes $400 billion from Medicare to pay for new programs. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin believes President Obama will have a health care reform bill on his desk by Christmas.

Senator Johanns' comments came Thursday during his weekly conference call with reporters.