Insurance companies would be forbidden to bar individuals who are already sick or inclined to become so, and Medicare and Medicaid would expand to bolster coverage of many Americans under a handful of proposals under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee, which were released Monday.
Committee members also sketched three possible designs for a government-sponsored health plan even though Republicans and the insurance lobby are steadfast against such a plan.
Under the proposals, individuals and families would be allowed to keep their current coverage if they choose, with health insurance plans expected to compete for their business.
One option includes a Medicare-like plan that would be run through HHS. Under such a structure, the government would set payment rates and Medicare providers would participate. Another option would have such plans run by so-called third-party administrators, or TPAs, which would establish provider networks and negotiate payments.
The third alternative would be a public health insurance option run by states if they choose, the committee report states.
Expanding healthcare coverage is not just a moral imperative, its an economic necessity, committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a written statement. The committee will meet May 14 to go over the options.
The policy options would also require that almost all individuals carry some level of coverage and employers would be required to offer insurance to full-time employees.