Baucus Unveils Long-Awaited Health Plan
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Sept. 16 introduced his much-anticipated health care reform plan that would require nearly all Americans to carry health insurance and prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people based on their health status or denying coverage because of preexisting conditions.
The plan would also establish consumer-owned insurance cooperatives in lieu of a government-run “public option” to compete with private insurers, with the goal of lowering costs and improving quality.
Under the Baucus plan, new Web-based insurance exchanges would be established to allow consumers to shop for and compare insurance plans. The package would also expand Medicaid and place caps on patients' annual health care costs. It would be paid for with $349 billion in new taxes and fees and $507 billion in cuts to government health programs.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the bill at $774 billion over 10 years, while Baucus puts the cost at $856 billion. The Senate Finance Committee is tentatively scheduled to start marking up the bill on Sept. 22.
As President Obama pushes for legislation to overhaul the health care system, details are still being negotiated in Congress. Any final health care bill would have to meld proposals from those that have emerged from various House and Senate committees.
To view a comparison of the health care bills taking shape in the House and Senate, click here.
For more information, e-mail Jenna Hamilton at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8407.