Washington — The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., has released plans for a major overhaul of the healthcare system.
The Baucus plan would ensure that every individual can access affordable coverage by creating a nationwide insurance pool called the Health Insurance Exchange. Those who already have health coverage could keep what they have. But for those who need affordable, guaranteed coverage, the Exchange would be a marketplace where Americans could easily compare and purchase the plans of their choice.
Private insurers offering coverage through the Exchange would be precluded from discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. Premium subsidies would be available to qualifying families and small businesses.
The Baucus plan also would increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid, the federal/state program that provides health care to the poor. States would be required to cover all adults whose income is at or below the federal poverty level, currently $17,600 for a family of three. The plan also would require that states cover uninsured children at or below 250% of the federal poverty level through the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
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