Explaining The New House Bill
Several news outlets have explainers on the House bill, which was unveiled yesterday.
Reuters has a "Factbox" outlining the major provisions in the bill. For example, Reuters notes that the measure "Creates an insurance market exchange where individuals and small businesses would purchase coverage. Sets minimum benefit packages that may be offered through the exchange" and "creates a new government health insurance plan that would be sold through the exchange."
Reuters also notes that the bill includes a mandate that most Americans carry health insurance and a mandate that most employers provide coverage to their workers. Financing for the bill includes a surtax on the wealthiest Americans. The bill would also include an expansion of Medicaid to cover anyone with an income up to 150 percent of poverty (10/29).
The Associated Press has a primer on details of the House bill as well as some aspects of the "merged" Senate bill, though not all details are not yet public. The House bill would cover "[a]bout 96 percent of legal residents under age 65 - compared with 83 percent now. About one-third of the remaining 18 million non-elderly people left uninsured would be illegal immigrants." After penalties for individuals and employers who do not comply with mandates are factored in, the bill's net cost would be $894 billion. "However those figures leave out a variety of new costs in the bill including providing more prescription drug coverage for seniors under Medicare, so there's no official estimate on the total cost of the legislation" (Werner, 10/30).