Health Care update

Proposed policy changes for health care,
*Reductions in payments to providers.
*Cuts in federal subsides to hospitals.
*Cuts in how much the federal government pays to provide prescription drugs to seniors and others.

Totaling $313 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to cover the cost of a national health care system.

Health care plan costs are estimates as high as $1.6 trillion, with only about $560 billion paid for.

Leading Democrats were searching for a way to prevent millions of people who currently are insured from taking the federal subsidies and opting out of their employer-provided plan.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. has signaled he intends to propose a tax on health insurance benefits. Baucus has told reporters he could exempt health benefits included in union contracts from the tax.

“The goal of public option is to keep the health insurance (industry’s) feet to the fire. Make sure they do all the things we tell them to do in the legislation.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke positively of the compromise proposal of cooperatives, which she said could receive seed money from the Treasury but then be free of control.

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