Reid Rolls Out Senate Health Bill for Sat. Showdown

Public option weaker than House's, abortion restriction less severe
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 6:43 AM CST
Updated Nov 19, 2009 7:40 AM CST
Reid Rolls Out Senate Health Bill for Sat. Showdown
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during a news conference on health care reform on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Harry Reid rolled out the Senate’s combined health care reform bill last night, earning oohs and ahhs from fellow Democrats, particularly over the price tag, and setting the stage for a cloture vote Saturday. The bill would cost a svelte $849 billion over 10 years while reducing the deficit by $127 billion—the biggest reduction of any bill to date. Here’s the nitty gritty:

  • The bill would set up health insurance exchanges for the uninsured, including a national public option, which states could opt out of.

  • Though federal funds couldn’t be used to cover abortions, the bill requires that the exchange include at least one plan that covers abortion, and at least one that doesn’t.
  • The bill would be funded through a tax on “Cadillac” health plans, but Reid upped the value of the plans to be taxed to $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for a family of four, with high-risk jobs like coal mining getting an exemption.
  • Those who don't buy insurance would be fined $95 in 2014, scaling up to $750 by 2016.
(More Harry Reid stories.)

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