WASHINGTON (CN) – Democratic Sen. Max Baucus on Wednesday presented a $856 billion plan to revamp America’s health care system. The proposal – which still lacks Republican support – would be funded by the $507 billion in federal cuts to government health programs and $349 billion in new taxes, including a tax on high-end insurance plans, The Associated Press reported.
The chairman of the Senate’s Finance Committee’s proposed bill could require most people to purchase insurance or pay a fine, and prevents insurance companies from charging more to those with serious health issues, the AP reported.
The bill also would allow Americans to shop around for insurance as part of a new purchasing exchange, the AP reported. Medicaid also would be expanded, with limits placed on a patients’ annual health care costs.
The proposed plan also would prevent federal funds from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening health issues involving the mother. It also will make sure those buying into the insurance are American citizens, although illegal immigrants with American-born children could get coverage.
Baucus’ committee is expected to vote on the bill as early as next week, the AP reported.
President Obama has said he wants a revamp of the health care system to provide coverage to nearly 50 million Americans who are without it.