WASHINGTON – Health care legislation heading for the Senate floor this week would extend coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans at a cost of $849 billion over a decade, according to congressional budget experts.

As rank-and-file Democrats gathered Wednesday to learn details of the long-awaited bill, the Congressional Budget Office also estimated the legislation would reduce federal deficits by a total of $127 billion over that decade, NBC News reported.

The budget agency also projected that the legislation would cover 94 percent of Americans.

The political stakes were enormous as Majority Leader Harry Reid summoned fellow Democrats to a closed-door meeting to brief them on the legislation. It is being crafted to fulfill President Barack Obama‘s goal of expanding coverage to the uninsured, banning industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and slowing the growth of health care costs nationwide.

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