Committee Chairman Max Baucus "We are now closer than ever before to finally passing reform that will offer security to those who have coverage and affordable insurance to those who don't."
Among the changes to this final draft(see link below):
- Bill would impose a 40 percent excise tax on insurance plans in excess of $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families.
- An amendment approved on a 13-10 party line vote raises those levels for retirees and high-risk professions, such as coal miners, to $9,850 and $26,000 respectively.
- states to negotiate deals with healthcare plans for those on low incomes. This NOT a lift or change to the interstate restrictions that limit insurance companies to certain states.
- set a $500,000 limit on the amount of executive pay that health insurance companies can deduct from taxable income. Cap on executive pay (put in by Blanche Lincoln)
- would bar insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions
- exempt more lower income people from the requirement to purchase insurance and delay implementation of penalties for failure to purchase insurance.
- bill would have allowed hardship waivers only if the cost of insurance exceeded 10 percent of a person's income. The amendment lowered that threshold to 8 percent.
- bill eventually would impose a maximum tax penalty of $950 for individuals and $1,900 for families that fail to purchase insurance
- allow states to negotiate with insurers to arrange coverage for people with incomes slightly higher than the cutoff for Medicaid, the government healthcare program for the poor
- committee's bill would create nonprofit insurance cooperatives to create competition -- CO-OPS are an important codeword for government run "public options"
The hold ups have been resolved as fees and excise taxes are negotiated to sound less. Don't forget that we WILL ALL get a tax increase next year as the Bush tax cuts will all expire.
They brag about "lowering the penalty" - penalty?
This "penalty" is NOT a tax though. Right?
Remember when this process would take months and the predictions were maybe the end of the year. I've railed over and over again on how the House is ready to go. I truly expected the Nancy Pelosi and the House to push a bill forward and pressure the Senate to follow suit.
Instead, we heard how the Senate Finance Commitee were voting against the public option, killing the healthcare reform - tons of misinformation.
The end game is still the same: one payer system, a government takeover of healthcare. If this were false then why ignore the bankruptcy of Medicaid and Medicare? If this is so urgent, then why is it now effective until 2013 (right after the re-election)
I only provided one link to paste many of these bullet points presented but you can google up all of the comments from these meetings. We don't know if we are getting to review this bill, so I encourage you to call your House Rep and Senators and DEMAND this bill gets posted on the internet.
DEMAND discussion and ask questions. This is NOT over, so we need to stay vigilent.
This only clarifies the fact that they WILL require everyone to have insurance and there will be a fee/penalty (but definitely is NOT a tax) for NOT having insurance.