Preview of the Baucus Plan

My colleague, ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent, Jonathan Karl got a draft of the Baucus plan. Here's his summary:

ABC News has obtained a detailed outline of the health care bill drafted by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus. At 2:30 pm, Baucus will be talking to the “Gang of Six” who have been negotiating this. At this point it’s basically a take-it-or-leave-it offer -- one final chance for the Finance Committee to come to a bi-partisan agreement.

Based on my quick read, Here are some highlights:

- By 2013, Americans would be required to have health insurance or pay a fine. Depending on income level, the fines could be as high as $3800 per family.

- Native Americans, the very poor and those with religious objections are exempt from this new mandate.

- There’s no mandate on companies to provide insurance to their employees.

- Health insurance companies bear a big share of the costs with two new taxes: ? A $6 billion annual tax that will be divided among companies based on market share ? A tax on so-called Cadillac plans; insurance plans valued at more than $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for a family of four.

- Expansion of Medicaid to those up to 133 percent of the poverty level.

- Federal subsidies to help those up to 300 percent of the poverty level buy insurance

- No new government-run insurance program, aka “public option”

- As an alternative to the public option, the bill creates and funds non-profit “cooperatives” that will provide insurance coverage

- New regulations on insurance companies: e.g. Bans denial of coverage or higher rates b/c of pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies would still be allowed, however, to charge higher rates for smokers.

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