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Senator Unveils Health Care Overhaul Plan

Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, recently expressed his intention for Congress to take the lead on health care reform with the presentation of his health care plan. The detailed three-year overhaul plan has many elements that are similar to proposals made by President-elect Barack Obama during the campaign, but also has similarities to the Massachusetts plan that has led to nearly universal coverage in that state.

Sen. Baucus’ plan would establish an insurance exchange offering a menu of health plans to the uninsured and to small businesses like in the Massachusetts plan. Employers would be required to pay premiums for coverage, however small businesses would be exempt from this requirement. The Baucus plan offers tax credits to small businesses to help cover costs, and provides subsidies to low-income Americans to help pay for premiums.

Sen. Baucus tied his health care reform proposal to the nation’s economic recovery by saying, “There’s no way to really solve American’s economic troubles without fixing the health care system. Health care costs suck up more than 16 percent of our economy, and they’re growing.”

An element of Sen. Baucus’ plan that differs from President-elect Obama’s plan would be a requirement that all Americans carry health insurance. Obama has proposed offering health care access for all Americans, but without a requirement that they be covered. Sen. Baucus’ plan would also require State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) to cover children at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, and state Medicaid eligibility up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Visit the Web page of Sen. Baucus for more information.

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