In a press release touting the proposal, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) described the bill as “legislation that will strengthen what works and fix what doesn’t”:
If you like the insurance you have today, you can keep it. If you don’t like what you have today, we’ll give you better choices, including a public option for health care. This does not symbolize the end of the game or even the end of the first quarter. We still have a lot of work ahead of us and are looking forward to working with our colleagues on a bipartisan basis to resolve the remaining issues and move forward with a mark-up of this legislation next week
The bill, which does not include financing options, closely reflects the ‘draft of a draft‘ proposal circulated last week and a summary released earlier today. The legislation aims to improve access to coverage by regulating insurers — they would no longer be able to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions — expanding Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and building state-sponsored insurance Gateways (or exchanges) to help Americans find affordable coverage. [Read an analysis of the bill HERE]
The most controversial details of health reform — the employer mandate and the structure of a new public option — have yet to be ironed out, however. According to the press release, “Democrats and Republics on the Committee will meet to discuss outstanding legislative options such as the public option and employer mandate” on Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 11.” The ext of the available legislation leaves the public option and employer-mandate sections blank:
A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 11 at 3 p.m. in Dirksen 430. Mark-up will begin Tuesday, June 16 at 2:30 p.m. in Russell 325.