Senate Democrats have released a draft of a healthcare bill that would introduce sweeping changes to the current insurance system which many consider to be dysfunctional.
The proposal, sponsored by Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, would require all Americans to buy health insurance and make it possible to buy affordable long-term care insurance from the government for about $65 per month, according to the Associated Press.
Other provisions include stricter regulations of private insurance companies to make it illegal to deny coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
Meanwhile, as a similar bill is being fashioned in the House of Representatives.
"Our economic recovery and nation’s fiscal future hinge on fixing what’s broken in our healthcare system – lowering costs to families and businesses, preserving choice of doctors and plans, and assuring quality health care for all Americans," says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Commentators believe any final healthcare proposals are bound to pit Republicans and Democrats against each other.
Most Republicans, for example, tend to reject the notion of a publicly-run system saying it would drive private insurers out of business.
However, many Democrats counter this by stressing a government option would enhance competition and encourage cost-savings.
The costs of the reform are estimated at more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.