Preview of the Baucus Plan

Sep 8, 2009 2:48pm

My colleague, ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent,Jonathan Karl got a draft of the Baucus plan. Here's his summary: ABC News has obtained a detailed outline of the health care bill drafted by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus.  At 2:30 pm, Baucus will be talking to the “Gang of Six” who have been negotiating this.  At this point it’s basically a take-it-or-leave-it offer — one final chance for the Finance Committee to come to a bi-partisan agreement. Based on my quick read, Here are some highlights: - By 2013, Americans would be required to have health insurance or pay a fine.  Depending on income level, the fines could be as high as $3800 per family. - Native Americans, the very poor and those with religious objections are exempt from this new mandate. - There’s no mandate on companies to provide insurance to their employees. - Health insurance companies bear a big share of the costs with two new taxes:
 A $6 billion annual tax that will be divided among companies based on market share
 A tax on so-called Cadillac plans; insurance plans valued at more than $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for a family of four. - Expansion of Medicaid to those up to 133 percent of the poverty level. - Federal subsidies to help those up to 300 percent of the poverty level buy insurance - No new government-run insurance program, aka “public option” - As an alternative to the public option, the bill creates and funds non-profit “cooperatives” that will provide insurance coverage - New regulations on insurance companies:  e.g.  Bans denial of coverage or higher rates b/c of pre-existing conditions.  Insurance companies would still be allowed, however, to charge higher rates for smokers.

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