Senate Health Care Bill Comes Into Focus

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So it looks as if the Senate’s bill will be released tomorrow and WSJ shares the broad strokes…

Employers with more than 50 workers wouldn’t be required to provide health insurance, but they would face fines of up to $750 per employee if even part of their work force received a government subsidy to buy health insurance, this person said. A bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee had a lower fine of up to $400 per employee.

The bill to be brought to the Senate floor would create a new public health-insurance plan, but would give states the choice of opting out of participating in it, a proposal that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada backed last week.

The bill is expected to expand health coverage to tens of millions of Americans by giving low- and middle-income Americans subsidies to offset the cost of insurance, and expanding the Medicaid federal-state insurance program to cover a broader swath of the poor. Most people would be required to buy insurance or pay a fine, though exceptions would be made for those deemed unable to afford it.

So this would be a federally funded plan that allows states to opt out if they so choose. That means we’re going to see the blue states adopt it and the red states reject it, plain and simple…even though the red states usually have the highest number of uninsured and underinsured folks.

Personally, I’m not a fan of a federally run system. I’d rather have the federal government give states seed money to build their own public co-ops and have the states figure it out themselves.

I also think it’s unclear whether or not Reid can get the 60 votes he needs to avoid passing this thing via reconciliation.

However, putting all that aside…let’s remember the most important part of health care reform…

Also expected are new rules on insurers to prevent them from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions and from dropping customers’ insurance once they become ill.

Yes, the plan is bound to have flaws since politics is the art of the possible, not the ideal. But if we can outlaw the pre-existing conditions clauses and lifetime coverage caps, that will go a long way towards delivering the type of health care we all deserve.

In any event, I’ll have more once the final bill is released.