Baucus Announces Proposal for Universal Health Care

November 12, 2008 ( - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) on Wednesday released a proposal to provide health care coverage for all Americans.

Citing a report from Modern Healthcare, Business Insurance said the cornerstone of Baucus’ plan is a national insurance pool called the Health Insurance Exchange. Those who already have coverage would get to keep what they have, but for those who need affordable, guaranteed coverage, the pool “would be a marketplace where Americans could easily compare and purchase the plans of their choice,” Baucus said, according to Business Insurance.

In addition, private insurers offering coverage through the insurance pool would be precluded from discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and premium subsidies would be available to qualifying families and small businesses.

Under Baucus’ proposal health care coverage would immediately become available to Americans aged 55 to 64 through a Medicare “buy-in” while the insurance pool is being established. The proposal would ensure that all states use the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover children at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.

The proposal also includes provisions to boost primary-care and chronic-care management and promote health information technology, Business Insurance said.