Rough Draft of New Health Care Bill

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Ben Cohen
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Politico reports on the bill being drafted by the House Democrats:

There
would be a "soft” mandate on individuals to purchase insurance, with a
waiver for those who can’t afford it and a “moderate” tax penalty on
those who skirt the requirement.

Large employers would need to provide coverage or face a tax penalty. Small businesses could buy into the insurance exchange and receive subsidies.

All
insurers would have to provide a minimum benefits package, and end its
practice of denying coverage or raising rates based on a preexisting
condition.

The committees are evaluating options for filling the Medicare prescription drug program "donut hole," but the outline cautioned it would be expensive to do so.

There were no new details on the scope of a public insurance plan, but the outline did explore lower-profile issues.

It
is the "goal" at this time to fix the payment formula for physicians
who take Medicare patients, the outline stated. Such a change would be
a huge win for doctors, who have long sought a permanent fix of the
"sustainable growth rate" system, which regularly calls for cuts in
reimbursement rates. Congress steps in each year to suspend the
proposed cuts, which would be 21 percent in 2010.


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