Democratic members of three House committees released a draft of legislation that would greatly reshape the U.S. healthcare system, adhering closely to provisions backed by President Barack Obama and with the intent of expanding coverage to almost every American. The 852-page draft includes provisions for a public health insurance option, a requirement that with only few exceptions every American have coverage; and a mandate that employers either offer health insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so.
Additionally, health insurance companies would be required to accept all comers regardless of pre-existing illnesses or genetic inclinations toward illness. That kind of discrimination will end, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said. Lawmakers said that the legislation would cover about 95% of Americans.
Changes in how providers are paid are also sought, including measures that would bundle payments for acute-care and post-acute hospitals, encourage the reduction of re-hospitalizations, and replace the sustainable growth-rate formula. Overpayments to private plans that participate in the Medicare Advantage program would also be eliminated, according to the preliminary draft.
The three committees involved in shaping the House legislation are Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor.