The Senate now has a specific health care reform bill to consider now that the Senate Finance Panel Passes a $829 Billion Health Plan:
The Senate Finance Committee approved an $829 billion plan to overhaul U.S. health care, clearing the way for a full Senate debate over the broadest expansion of the government’s role in the medical system since the creation of Medicare in 1965.
Just one Republican on the panel, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, voted for the measure in an otherwise party-line 14-9 tally. That marked the first time a Republican in either the Democratic-controlled Senate or House has supported the revamp legislation, President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority. . . .
Unlike other versions of the overhaul, the finance bill includes a new tax on the most-expensive insurance plans, doesn’t require employers to provide coverage to workers, and omits a provision creating a new government insurance program, the so-called public option, which most Republicans oppose.
Nonprofit co-operatives would instead provide competition to an insurance industry that stands to gain millions of new customers because the bill requires Americans to obtain insurance. The measure also imposes new restrictions on insurers’ ability to deny people coverage.
If the bill passes the Senate, it would then have to be reconciled with a corresponding House bill coming down the pike. That bill may well contain a public, federal insurance option to compete with the private insurance industry.