Senate Democrats’ Plan for Universal Health Care: The First Look

The Senate Democrats have released their first look at a Bill that would provide universal health care.  Subtitle B, which I’ve copied below really provides the crux of the plan.  Sorry about the line numbers–they didn’t copy consistently but the text is converted from a PDF file.  Read down at least to the section titled, “Sense of the Senate,” and you will see what is the goal for the act in general (it’s in bold face).

I did a quick scan of the 615 page document (and I do mean quick).  What will now be really interesting is how much of it survives, or survives intact.

Get ready for the Republican Buzz Saw Crowd to come out screaming, and the anti-universal health care lobby will unleash their version of the Hounds of Hell to howl about impending  apocalypse if it’s passed.

I suggest ear plugs.  There are some really good things in this act.  I feel healthier already!

Here’s the link: Affordable Health Choices Act

Subtitle B—Available Coverage for

2 All Americans

3 SEC. 141. ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING MEDICAID.

4 (a) ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING POLICY.—The Com

5 mittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the

6 Senate assumes that the provisions of the Affordable

7 Health Choices Act will be considered by the Senate as

8 part of legislation that amends title XIX of the Social Se9

curity Act to implement the following policies:

10 (1) All individuals currently eligible for Med11

icaid will remain eligible for Medicaid.

12 (2) All individuals will be eligible for Medicaid

13 at income levels up to 150 percent of poverty.

14 (3) Improvements will be made in processes to

15 facilitate enrollment in Medicaid.

16 (4) States will be required to maintain levels of

17 eligibility with regard to beneficiaries currently en18

rolled in Medicaid.

19 (5) Criteria utilized to establish income levels

20 for eligibility for premium credits in a Gateway may

21 also be used to determine eligibility for Federal pro22

grams operated under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI

23 of the Social Security Act.

24 (6) States will received a Federal medical as25

sistance percentage of 100 percent until 2015 for

38

O:\BAI\BAI09A84.xml [file 1 of 6] S.L.C.

1 additional costs of enrolling beneficiaries who are de2

scribed in paragraphs (2) through (4).

3 (7) Beginning in 2015, the Federal medical as4

sistance percentage for the costs of enrolling individ5

uals described in paragraphs (2) through (4) will

6 phase down to the percentage otherwise applicable

7 by 2020.

8 (8) An increased Federal medical assistance

9 percentage will be applicable to States that have in10

creased eligibility for individuals described in para11

graphs (2) through (4) prior to the date of enact12

ment of this section.

13 (b) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—The provisions of

14 title XXXI of the Public Health Service Act (as added

15 by section 143) shall be construed, for purposes of the

16 consideration of the Affordable Health Choices Act by the

17 Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of

18 the Senate, as if the amendments described in subsection

19 (a) have been enacted.

20 SEC. 142. BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THE FEDERAL

21 EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFIT PROGRAM SO

22 ALL AMERICANS HAVE AFFORDABLE HEALTH

23 BENEFIT CHOICES.

24 (a) FINDINGS.—The Senate finds that—

39

O:\BAI\BAI09A84.xml [file 1 of 6] S.L.C.

1 (1) the Federal employees health benefits pro2

gram under chapter 89 of title 5, United States

3 Code, allows Members of Congress to have afford4

able choices among competing health benefit plans;

5 (2) the Federal employees health benefits pro6

gram ensures that the health benefit plans available

7 to Members of Congress meet minimum standards of

8 quality and effectiveness;

9 (3) millions of Americans have no meaningful

10 choice in health benefits, because health benefit

11 plans are either unavailable or unaffordable; and

12 (4) all Americans should have the same kinds

13 of meaningful choices of health benefit plans that

14 Members of Congress, as Federal employees, enjoy

15 through the Federal employees health benefits pro16

gram.

17 (b) SENSE OF THE SENATE.—It is the sense of the

18 Senate that Congress should establish a means for all

19 Americans to enjoy affordable choices in health benefit

20 plans, in the same manner that Members of Congress have

21 such choices through the Federal employees health bene22

fits program.

40

O:\BAI\BAI09A84.xml [file 1 of 6] S.L.C.

1 SEC. 143. AFFORDABLE HEALTH CHOICES FOR ALL AMERI2

CANS.

3 (a) PURPOSE.—It is the purpose of this section to

4 facilitate the establishment of Affordable Health Benefit

5 Gateways in each State, with appropriate flexibility for

6 States in establishing and administering the Gateways.

7 (b) AMERICAN HEALTH BENEFIT GATEWAYS.—The

8 Public Health Service Act ( 42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) is

9 amended by adding at the end the following:

10 ‘‘TITLE XXXI—AFFORDABLE

11 HEALTH CHOICES FOR ALL

12 AMERICANS

13 ‘‘Subtitle A—Affordable Choices

14 ‘‘SEC. 3101. AFFORDABLE CHOICES OF HEALTH BENEFIT

15 PLANS.

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