The newly unveiled Senate Finance Committee healthcare bill proposal was designed to help garner bipartisan support for the reform, but instead it appears both parties are united in criticizing it.
The draft presented by the committee chairman, Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana, scraps the public option in favor of nonprofit healthcare cooperatives that would negotiate collective insurance coverage for members. It also mandates coverage for all Americans and includes provisions for greater regulation of private insurance companies, barring them from denying or dropping coverage of sick individuals or imposing lifetime limits on benefits.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the plan will cost $774 billion -significantly lower than some other proposals – and would save $49 billion between 2010 and 2019.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not been thrilled with the proposal, and while she acknowledged it includes some key provisions of the House bill, such as sweeping insurance reforms and consumer protections, she said including a government-run health insurance option would be the best way to achieve greater affordability, increased coverage and lower costs.
Meanwhile on the GOP side, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is reported to be against mandating coverage for all Americans and against requiring large companies to offer it, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. He also opposes taxing high-cost insurance plans, something the Baucus plan makes provisions for in order to help pay for the reform.
None of the three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee have backed the proposal.