UPDATE: Here is the Baucus document
With roughly 36 hours until the President addresses a joint session of Congress to outline his health care proposal, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) has circulated an outline of a compromise bill to the “Group of Six” that could eventually come before the entire committee for a vote.
The outline of the legislation is almost identical to the draft released in June (as summarized on The Power of A), including substituting state-based cooperatives for a federal public plan and the “free rider” approach instead of an employer mandate. One major difference is removing a proposal to tax a certain level of employer-provided insurance and instead impose a fee on insurance companies and other medical groups. According to The New York Times, the bill would impose $6 billion in fees annually on insurance companies, $4 billion on medical device manufacturers and $750 million on clinical laboratories.
The Finance bill would also impose a fee on insurance companies that offered high-cost insurance plans, or so-called “Cadillac plans”, to attempt to steer workers and employers to lower-cost insurance packages. Additionally, the bill now contains a catastrophic insurance plan for Americans aged 25 years and younger.
The Washington Post reports this morning that Senator Baucus is urging all members of the Gang of Six to sign off on the bill before the President’s speech tomorrow. He has also said he is welcoming all suggestions from the Group as long as the changes do not require additional offsets. However, over the August break Republican senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have been critical of many components of the already-proposed health care bills and have said they will not support any bill that does not have a larger number of Republican supporters.
The President previews his health care message before a labor rally yesterday… According to Roll Call, some House liberals admit (subscription) they would support a public option that has a “trigger” for enactment… Politico asks whether the President erred in focusing on the Senate instead of the House… CEO Update (subscription) summarizes some associations’ positions on the health care debate.