The bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee late last week
included the following:
Benefits: A home- and community-based care provision that is less extensive than the benefit in the Clinton plan. According to Ways and Means staff estimates, the provision would cost $4.2 billion in fiscal 1997, rising to $13 billion by fiscal year 2004. The plan also includes prescription drug, substance-abuse and mental health benefits.
Financing: An employer mandate would force all firms to pay 80% of the cost of insurance for their workers. Firms with 25 or fewer workers would receive a 50% subsidy, while firms with 26 to 75 workers would receive subsidies to lower the cost by as much as 37.5%. Tobacco taxes would increase by 15 cents per pack in 1995 and 1996, gradually rising to 45 cents in 1999.
Medicare cuts: Medicare growth would be restricted by more than $110 billion for the five-year period ended in the year 2000. The Clinton plan called for $118 billion in Medicare spending cuts, of which about $70 billion affected hospitals.
Cost containment: Spending targets would be set on a state-by-state basis. A commission would be set up to report in the year 2000 to Congress on whether the spending goals were reached. If not, it could suggest its own cost-containment system or recommend that the Medicare-style controls be put in place. Congress could modify the suggestions. If Congress does not act, the Medicare-style controls take effect.
Coverage: The uninsured, current Medicaid patients, the self-insured and businesses with fewer than 50 employees would get insurance from a new government-run program called Medicare Part C.
Source: House Ways and Means Committee