Former Senate Majority Leaders Outline Health Care Compromise
Three former Senate majority leaders unveiled a health care reform plan Wednesday that would tax health benefits with value over what members of Congress are given and would mandate that both employers and individuals carry insurance, Kaiser Health News reports.
The authors, Democrat Tom Daschle and Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker, said the $1.2 trillion overhaul - which would be budget neutral in 10 years - "would be financed by revamping health delivery and payment systems, slowing the growth in costs for Medicare and Medicaid, and fining large employers who don't offer insurance to their workers. To raise more revenue, their plan also would cap the tax-free status of employer-provided benefits at the value of Congress' health coverage and would tax benefits that are worth more."
"It would require individuals to carry coverage, limit out-of-pocket insurance premiums to 15 percent of income for a minimum benefits package and offer "enhanced protections" for Americans who are living on less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level. This year, the poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,050" (Villegas, 6/17).
Roll Call: "The Daschle-Dole-Baker plan includes a public plan 'compromise' that would give states the option to establish programs of their own, with technical assistance coming from the federal government. The plan would make the states compete on a 'level playing field' with private industry, they said" (Ackley, 6/17).
CongressDaily: "The former leaders said they shared their proposals with the White House and Senate leaders, but said they are unsure what influence it will have. 'We're just citizens,' Dole said" (Friedman, 6/17).