On June 9, 2009, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)
Committee released a draft health care reform bill. In summary, the draft
would expand Medicaid eligibility to those with incomes up to 150 percent
of the federal poverty level, impose federal tax penalties on most individuals
failing to purchase coverage, mandate a public plan option, require employers
to provide coverage or pay into a pool, and stiffen regulation of private
health insurance plans.
Importantly, the plan eliminates life-time insurance caps as well as provides
for the establishment of a medical advisory council that will submit a
report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services including recommendations
on essential health care benefits eligible for credits which includes
rehabilitative services. In issuing the report, the council will ensure
that the recommendations take into account the needs of diverse segments
of the population including persons with disability.
The HELP committee plans to begin considering this bill on June 16, 2009.
BIAA will continue to monitor the situation carefully.