• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

Finance Panel Easily Passes Health Care Reform

The Democrats’ plans to overhaul the nation’s dysfunctional health care system took a giant step forward Tuesday when the Senate Finance Committee passed a $829 billion proposal designed to expand coverage to millions of uninsured Americans while reining in runaway health care costs.

The vote was 14 to 9, with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) the only lawmaker on the 23-member panel to cross the aisle. Democrats for weeks had been courting Snowe, who has been the only upper-chamber Republican to express even the least bit of interest in supporting the bill.

Snowe’s support adds a hint of legitimacy to the Democrats’ claims that they’ve worked to create a bipartisan bill, although Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) conceded Tuesday that it’s “not quite the degree of bipartisan support” he’d hoped for.

Snowe, for her part, said she retains serious reservations about the proposal, including provisions to penalize folks who don’t comply with a proposed individual insurance mandate, and another expanding Medicaid to include most everyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,327 for a family of four. In the end, however, the Maine moderate said that the seriousness of the problems facing the health care system mean that Congress doesn’t have the privilege to sit on its hands any longer.

“Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it,” Snowe said. “Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls.”

Under the legislation, insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to patients based on preexisting conditions; they could no longer drop coverage after customers got sick; and they wouldn’t be allowed to cap coverage at a certain level. In exchange for those concessions, the Baucus bill provides roughly $460 billion in federal subsidies intended to provide coverage for most of the nation’s 46 million uninsured.

To pay the freight, the Finance bill would trim the growth in Medicare payments to most providers and cut more than $100 billion in federal subsidies to the private insurance plans that cover Medicare patients. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the proposal would save the federal government $81 billion over the next decade.

There’s a long way left to go. Democratic leaders are now faced with the thorny task of combining the Finance bill with another enormous health reform proposal passed in July by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Among the most high-profile discrepancies between the two bills, the HELP bill includes a non-profit public insurance option to compete with private companies, while the Finance legislation would create state-based health care cooperatives for the same purpose.

The chief sponsor of the co-op provision, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), said Tuesday that the public option is “a non-starter” because rates would would be pegged to those in Medicare — a threat to North Dakota, where Medicare rates are among the lowest in the country.

But liberal Democrats are already vowing to push the public option during the looming floor debate. Last week, 30 upper-chamber Democrats sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urging the majority leader to include a public plan in the merged bill. On Tuesday, a number of Democrats echoed that sentiment, arguing that creating a robust public plan is the only way to keep the private insurers honest.

“To cut costs, we must have a public option in the final bill,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), whose proposal creating such a plan was shot down by the finance panel a few weeks ago.

The debate over the public option took a twist over the weekend when the health insurance lobby released a controversial report indicating that the Democrats’ health reform plans would hike Americans’ premium costs by thousands of dollars each year. Democrats, including White House officials, blasted the report as an inaccurate attempt to kill the bill. Many Democrats pointed out that premiums have skyrocketed in recent years even without health reform. “How convenient that they came forward at the 11th hour,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Complicating the debate, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf conceded Tuesday that his office never estimated the effects of the Democrats’ bill on insurance premiums.

In another sticking point among Democrats, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has vowed to push his controversial proposal allowing workers to opt out of their employer-based coverage and instead use a cash voucher to shop for insurance on a newly created marketplace, known on Capitol Hill as the exchange. Critics, most of them Democrats, argue that the proposal wold encourage workers to flee their company plans in favor of cheaper insurance, eroding the long-standing system of employer-based coverage.

All sides agree, however, that the current system is broken and needs repair. Indeed, health care costs in the United States are expected to top $2.5 trillion this year, though the health outcomes are often worse than those in other countries that spend much less. “We all understand that we cannot afford the status quo,” Baucus said.

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.