September 16th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
13 years ago

What's in Baucus' health care proposal?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, unveiled a summary of his proposed health care plan Monday.

The main points include:

· $856 billion over 10 years and mandatory insurance coverage for every American by 2013.

· Baucus claims the bill would not add to the federal deficit.

· The plan is financed by more than $500 billion in various spending reductions, including Medicare, while calling for almost $350 billion in new taxes and fees.

· Insurers would be hit with $6 billion in new fees, with another $4 billion coming from the medical device manufacturing sector.

· Smaller sums would come from drug makers and clinical laboratories.

Changes to Medicaid/Medicare/CHIP

· Medicaid eligibility would be standardized for everyone who has an income of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Individual Mandate
· The plan would require individuals to obtain health coverage or pay an annual penalty depending on their income level, though some exemptions are available.

· Employers are not required to offer health care insurance to employees.

· Businesses with 50 or more employees that do not offer coverage will be required to reimburse the government for tax credits given to employees purchasing their own insurance.

Public Option
· Instead of a government-run public option plan, Baucus' proposal calls for the creation of nonprofit health care cooperatives.

Pre-existing Insurance Conditions
· Would bar insurance companies from dropping a policyholder in the event of illness as long as that person had paid his or her premium in full.

· It would add new protections for people with pre-existing conditions and establish tax credits to help low-and middle-income families purchase insurance coverage.

· Insurance companies also would be barred from imposing annual caps or lifetime limits on coverage. Individuals, however, would be fined up to $950 annually for failing to obtain coverage; families could be fined as much as $3,800.

Malpractice Costs
· States would be encouraged "to develop and test alternatives to the current civil litigation system" as a way to help reduce skyrocketing malpractice costs, the summary noted.

· According to the summary, the bill would not pre-empt state laws banning or requiring abortion coverage.

· Federal tax dollars, as under current law, would not be used to pay for abortions unless the pregnancy is due to rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger.

· Also provides that abortion cannot be a mandated benefit as part of a minimum benefits package except in those cases for which federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services are permitted.

Illegal Immigrants
· Undocumented immigrants would not be allowed to buy insurance plans.

· The plan says that parents who are in the country illegally will not be able to buy personal insurance coverage through the state exchange, but will be able to buy insurance for their U.S. citizen or lawfully present children.

· For individuals who do not claim to be U.S. citizens but claim to be lawfully present in the country, they would have to have their claim substantiated by the Department of Homeland Security.

· In order to prevent illegal immigrants from accessing the state exchanges obtaining federal health care tax credits, the plan requires verification of personal data - including Social Security information.

Filed under: Health care • Max Baucus • Senate
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Without a public option, there is no health care bill.

    September 16, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. TCM

    Baucus' bill is a joke, just like everything else the loony left comes up fund this fiasco, he'll screw the old folks, the ones who worked and made this nation great, and hand over the benefits to a bunch of illegals and entitlement sucking ghetto leeches....good job Baucus! You've done yourself in!

    "Nonprofit health coops" = public liberals will stop at nothing to further your crazy agenda...the money's simply not there...and printing more really wrecks the economy, as Obama has proved....

    September 16, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Aaron

    The Baucus Plan is a deal breaker without the public option. The public option is integral to real healthcare reform since it acts as a mechanism to keep the private insurance companies in check and honest. Furthermore, the public option forces the private insurance companies to behave as public utilities or leave the health insurance industry. Healthcare is a public service and thus should be treated as a public utility. The government will not put the private insurance companies out of business, they will put themselves out of business if they continue to take people's money and then dump them under the guise of preexisting conditions or for other dubious reasons. Max Baucus is too concerned with Bipartisan partnership and less with social equity. I say to Baucus, FORGET BIPARTISANSHIP AND MOVE THE BILL WITH THE PUBLIC OPTION TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR A UP OR DOWN VOTE!!

    September 16, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    350 billion is too much !!!!

    September 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, head of the death panel

    Just the type of plan you'd expect from a senator who gets so much campaign money from insurers: a handout to insurance companies and no real reform. If the final legislation is anything like this, I'm seriously thinking of bailing on the democratic party and going with the greens or socialists. Have a nice day!

    September 16, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    $350 billion in new taxes and fees (just a new name for taxes). I thought people who made less than $250K would not see their taxes go up? So, where is this additional $350B coming from? As far as the individual mandates, what about the unemployed? what about recent grduates who aren't making much money, what about the elderly who are facing Medicare cuts? So can I assume since medicare is being cut, so will the taxes I am paying into medicare? That would only be fair! Since I like what I have, I still can keep it, right?

    September 16, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Jason

    This guy is a disgrace to the Democratic party and to the American people. He should be embarrassed to present this bill to other Democrats.

    September 16, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. aware

    Kill the bill and start over unless you want to defeat Obama and the dems in 2010 and 2012! :)!

    September 16, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Scott, Tucson

    That's mandatory insurance coverage for everyone folks...except for the politicians and the UAW. And if you don't pay up than expect the IRS to come after you. Can you your family afford the $3,800 per year fines on top of the $1,800 plus that the Cap and Trade bill will cost the average family? Is this the kind of CHANGE you were expecting?

    September 16, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Rob

    Well its no surprise that his plan has no public option. This bill will go through all sorts of changes before it has a prayer of passing. Republicans AND Democrats don't like it. The bill is weak because Baucaus is in bed with the insurance companies.

    A health care bill needs to:
    1) Grant coverage to all regardless of conditions.
    2) Allow people to purchase a plan like they do for auto insurance.
    3) Provide protections of existing employer paid plans.
    4) Provide a non-profit public option only in the exchange for people that are self-employed or are denied coverage through their employer.
    5) Prevent illegal aliens from buying any coverage that includes government subsidies.
    6) I think instead of raising income taxes per se, we should put higher taxes on foods and products that are known health hazards. Cigarettes, alchohol, Twinkies, Rockstar Energy Drinks, etc.

    September 16, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. ROFL

    You gotta be kidding me! This is a democrats proposal? While i admit I haven't read the Senator's version online yet, what is in this article seems pretty conservative to me. I think this proposal reeks of big bidness

    September 16, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. kapinhotatlanta

    Wen is someone going to "out" Baucus and all the money he collects from the insurance and pharmaceutical companies??? Where do you think his loyalty lies. Not only that, the media makes money from the pharmaceutical companys. Just sit and count all the drug companies peddling their products on one given night. You do the math and see where it adds up. Who do you think will benefit and who do you think will be the BIGGEST LOSERS!

    September 16, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. joey

    This proposal sounds good and I like it. Now let's see what the Rebublicans have to say ...and I hope they give this plan a fair chance
    and just don't dismiss it out of hand...

    September 16, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    · Baucus claims the bill would not add to the federal deficit.

    · The plan is financed by more than $500 billion in various spending reductions, including Medicare, while calling for almost $350 billion in new taxes and fees.
    Here's my problem with this Democratic Double-Talk;

    1. If the bill doesn't pass are we still going to blow $500 billion in overspending, including Medicare?

    2. If we are not, then this is $500 billion of deficit reduction.

    I guess they assume we are all very stupid. Well, we did vote them in...

    September 16, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |