Baucus offers “sweeping universal-coverage plan”

Senator Max Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has unveiled the first major health care proposal for the next Congress. The Hill calls it sweeping“:

Under the Montana Democrat’s plan, all Americans would be required to hold a health insurance policy, going one step further than President-elect Barack Obama’s plan. Individuals could keep their existing health plans or join a nationwide insurance pool to buy coverage, the price tag of which would be reduced with government subsidies. Insurers would not be allowed to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, a centerpiece of Obama’s plan.

Baucus’s plan comes after Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), who chairs a key health committee, and other top Democrats have sent clear signals that the 111th Congress will attempt to enact a sweeping healthcare plan — despite the skyrocketing national debt. Obama has listed healthcare as a priority on his agenda, but he has suggested that a big push may wait until after the financial system stabilizes.

Under Baucus’s approach, coverage would be expanded under Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which would ensure that children below 250 percent of the federal poverty level would be covered. People between the ages of 55 and 64 would be eligible for a Medicare buy-in, and the plan would phase out the current two-year period where individuals who have disabilities have to wait for Medicare coverage.

His plan will likely generate opposition from Republicans who say government should take a more limited role in the healthcare system. Legislative language has yet to be released.

Of course Republicans will oppose health care reform. They opposed reform of the financial sector, too, and look where that got us.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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