Elements of the Baucus Proposal

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reducing the Numbers of Uninsured Everyone living in households with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- the equivalent of $29,327 for a family of four -- would be eligible for Medicaid. Tax credits to offset private insurance plans would be provided on a sliding scale.

Coverage Requirements Individuals would be required to buy health coverage, or face a fee of $750 to $950 per year. Families would face a fee of $1,500 to $3,800, and employers would have to pay if they did not offer coverage.

Overhauling the Insurance Market The bill would create state insurance "exchanges" that offer competing plans to the uninsured, including coverage provided by nonprofit, member-run cooperatives, as an alternative to a government-run insurance plan. And it would end practices that bar individuals with preexisting conditions and that limit annual and lifetime benefits.

Paying the Tab The proposal would enact vast changes to Medicare and would impose an excise tax on insurers for any health plan that is valued above $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families. It would raise additional revenue by changing health-savings account rules and through fees on drug companies, insurers, clinical labs and medical device companies.

-- Shailagh Murray

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