Hospitals would lose 20% of their Medicare payments for certain readmissions, while pilot programs and study groups would be formed to refigure how providers are paid under a legislative framework released by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
The blueprint also requires virtually every American to hold some level of health insurance coverage beginning in 2013 and offers tax credits and other means of financial assistance to help those who qualify. Americans who fall between 100% and 300% ($10,830 and $32,490 for an individual under the 2009 guidelines) of the federal poverty level would be fined $750 per year if they do not acquire coverage, and $1,500 per family. For those above the 300% threshold, individuals would be fined up to $950 per year and $3,800 per family.
The joint federal-state Medicaid program would be expanded to cover individuals up to 133% of the federal poverty level. While legislation expected to emerge from the Senate Finance Committee would not require employers to offer insurance, it would however fine companies on a per-worker basis if their workers buy coverage in an open market “exchange.”
The framework comes just one day before President Barack Obama is expected to detail to members of Congress what he wants to see in a healthcare reform package.