Health Care Reform Update, July 2009

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.

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