By ERICA WERNER and DAVID ESPO
Associated Press Writers: Jun 25, 9:44 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators working to give President Barack Obama a comprehensive health care overhaul said Thursday they had figured out how to pare back the complex legislation to keep costs from crashing through a $1 trillion, 10-year ceiling. The announcement from Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and other lawmakers amounted to a small, parting gift to Obama on his top domestic priority as Congress prepares to leave town for its weeklong July 4 recess. It moved Congress a bit closer to a deal on legislation to lower costs and provide coverage to nearly 50 million Americans who lack it. It also capped two weeks of tough going for health care negotiations on Capitol Hill as price tags as high as $1.6 trillion over 10 years sent senators back to the drawing board and forced deadlines to be repeatedly reset. “We have options that would enable us to write a $1 trillion bill, fully paid for,” Baucus said at a news conference. Baucus declined to detail how the costs were being cut, but options included difficult sacrifices like potentially delaying an expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor. Others have said the changes made in recent days would lower the cost of government subsidies for those who cannot afford insurance, as well as pare back a planned 10-year series of rate increases for doctors serving Medicare patients.