For some of the nuts and bolts within the bill, we turn to this article from the Wall Street Journal. Writers Greg Hitt and Janet Adamy give us the details.
The Baucus bill would provide federal subsidies to individuals and families with incomes as high as 300% of the federal poverty line. For people whose incomes fall between 300% and 400% of the poverty line, the bill would cap premiums at 13% of income.
Critics complain the 13% cap is too high and would impose unreasonable costs on middle-income family budgets. But Finance Committee aides argue that tens of millions of Americans would still benefit from the cap.
Republicans, meanwhile, have been seeking other changes to the bill. In private negotiations led by Mr. Baucus, Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) made a push this week to drop the proposed mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance. Instead, he has proposed creating a new "reinsurance pool" to help spread the risks associated with high-cost patients.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Mr. Grassley complained the Senate Democratic leadership is imposing an "artificial deadline" on the bipartisan talks led by Mr. Baucus, but vowed to "continue to work with" the chairman.
Health Care for America Now, a liberal advocacy group, estimates that a family of four earning $77,175 a year could pay as much as $10,033 a year for health insurance under Sen. Baucus's proposal. That is about $2,000 a year more than they would pay under a health bill passed through the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as well as under two of the three bills passed through House committees.
Mr. Baucus's bill would also place higher caps than other versions on the amount consumers would pay for out-of-pocket health-care expenses. It would allow insurance companies to charge older customers premiums that are as much as five times as high as those for younger customers, a provision sought by insurance companies. The other bills would restrict them from charging older customers more than twice as much.