After weeks of speculation, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D.- Mont.) has delivered his take on health care reform for mark-up.

In a statement introducing America’s Healthy Future Act, Baucus cited the historic importance of health care reform, noting the reform effort dates back to the Truman Administration.

“Our actions here, this week, will determine whether we are courageous and skillful enough to seize the opportunity to change things for the better,” Baucus said.

Referencing a recent Harvard study that indicated a lack of health coverage was responsible for 45,000 deaths annually, Baucus said his bill would offer Americans protection.

“It would reform the insurance market,” he said. “It would protect those with pre-existing conditions. It would prevent insurance companies from discriminating and capping coverage. And it would require insurance companies to renew policies as long as policyholders pay their premiums. No longer would insurance companies be able to drop coverage when people get sick.”

Describing the bill as a “balanced, common-sense plan that takes the best ideas from both sides,” Baucus pointed out that his plan lacked a public option.

“We have built our plan on an exchange marketplace that allows choice among private health insurance company products. People would be able to choose their own plans.  Our plan does not include a public option. We did not include an employer mandate.”

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