Baucus Plan Details Released; Grassley Says Bipartisan Bill ‘Up In The Air’
According to CQ Politics, Chairman Max Baucus' is circulated a proposal to the Finance Committee Gang Of Six over the weekend that would "establish a system of consumer-owned insurance cooperatives in lieu of a ... 'public plan' and would expand Medicaid to millions more Americans."
Among the details, "To expand coverage to millions of the estimated 46 million Americans who lack insurance, everyone up to 133 percent of the poverty level would be covered by Medicaid, a Finance source said. 'In addition, health care affordability tax credits would be provided to help low- and middle-income families purchase private insurance coverage,' the source added" (9/8).
Baucus' proposal "includes annual fees of $6 billion on the health insurance industry and $4 billion on medical device makers, according to a draft framework for a measure," Bloomberg writes.
"The two industries are among four affected by new fees to help cover the costs of broad changes in the health delivery system [beginning in 2010]. ... Drug manufacturers would see $2.3 billion in yearly fees, and clinical labs would pay $750 million." The plan also provide temporary tax credits, available for 2011 and 2012, for small businesses that provide health coverage to workers (Litvan, 9/8).
The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the "ranking member and key GOP negotiator for healthcare reform," said the Finance Committee's ability to create a bipartisan healthcare bill is "up in the air" since President Obama announced his speech before Congress Wednesday. He said the committee had to move forward its Sept. 15 deadline to produce a bill after Obama made known that he would outline his own healthcare priorities in the joint session speech.
"Whether or not we'll have a bipartisan proposal by today, tomorrow is pretty much up in the air," Grassley said. "Sen. Baucus thought that if the president's going to put forth a program, the president should know what the Finance Committee stands for" (O'Brien, 9/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.