Senate Finance starts work on sweeping health bill
The change was one of several Sen. Max Baucus was expected that the legislation, said Congress gave him “a chance to make history,” after generations of failed attempts to reform the health system.
“We will do our part to make quality, affordable health care available to all Americans,” he said.
But Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Attacked the legislation as an assault “impressive on our liberty”, citing several provisions to strengthen the role of government in health care.
Baucus called the committee, after months of negotiations, the two parties that failed to produce agreement on a compromise measure, but held out hope that Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, finally announce his support.
No details were immediately available for last minute changes was Baucus presentation, although officials said much of the additional spending would make the most generous government subsidies. The Baucus legislation, individuals and families with incomes up to 400 percent of poverty would be eligible for some form of state subsidy to cover the cost of insurance.
In addition, Baucus is expected to reduce the proposed penalties that challenge a proposed mandate to purchase insurance, and mitigate the impact of the proposed tax a new tax on insurance policies of high cost.
Officials who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt a formal announcement.
Baucus, the legislation is designed to make coverage more available and affordable, while holding back growth in the cost of medical care in general. Its price is 10 years less than $ 900 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Baucus made numerous concessions to the Republicans in their successful stab at bipartisan compromise, the government launched appeals to sell insurance in competition with private industry as well as a proposed requirement for large businesses to provide insurance to their workers.
In his opening statement, Baucus tried to anticipate the criticism from Republicans.
“Despite what some may say, is not” making the government “for health care,” Baucus said. “Our plan does not include a public option. We did not include employer mandates. And we paid for every penny.”
But Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, senior Republican on the panel, said the White House and Democratic leaders of short-circuit the conversation of the two parties by establishing a deadline for mid-September. “I find it totally and absolutely terrible,” he said.
Grassley criticized many of the key components of the plan, a requirement that all Americans get insurance, the taxes paid by subsidies to make coverage affordable. He also said the bill falls short of ensuring that illegal immigrants do not receive government assistance for purchasing insurance, as well as the prevention of the financing for abortion.
The Finance Committee is the last of the five panels to have a voice before the full Senate debates the legislation. The senators have submitted 564 amendments, some of which are important changes under Baucus carefully.
The Baucus plan would extend coverage to nearly 29 million Americans who lack it now, and costly practices to end insurance company, such as charging higher premiums to women and deny coverage to people with poor health. It would be almost everyone to buy insurance or pay a fee, while the expansion of Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals and grants to many in the middle class. It would create new online exchanges where small businesses and people without government or employer-provided insurance could shop for plans and compare prices.
A number of Democrats, the committee had expressed concern about whether the subsidies in the Baucus bill is generous enough to make insurance truly affordable to low-income people. There are also concerns about a new tax on insurance plans high cost, which critics fear would affect some middle-class workers, including many union members at risk occupations such as mining and police work.
Those concerns are shared by Snowe, whose support could be even more critical if the law requires that the full Senate, where Democrats are likely to need 60 votes to pass the bill.