A Look At Congress' Legislative Language

Here's a look at how three issues are described in the legislative language of the House's initial health care bill compared with the "conceptual" _ or plain English _ language used by the Senate Finance Committee.

The issues are: Coverage for pre-existing conditions and denial of coverage; a requirement for all individuals to obtain health insurance; and how subsidies to help low-income people purchase insurance are distributed.

___

Senate Finance bill:

"Issuers would be prohibited from excluding coverage for pre-existing health conditions and from rescinding health coverage."



House bill:

"A qualified health benefits plan may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion (as defined in section 2701(b)(1)(A) of the Public Health Service Act) or otherwise impose any limit or condition on the coverage under the plan with respect to an individual or dependent based on any health status-related factors (as defined in section 2791(d)(9) of the Public Health Service Act) in relation to the individual or dependent. ... Rescissions of such coverage shall be prohibited except in cases of fraud as defined in sections 2712(b)(2) of such Act."

___

Senate Finance bill:

"Personal Responsibility Requirement. Beginning in 2013, all U.S. citizens and legal residents would be required to purchase coverage through (1) the individual market, a public program such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, Veteran's Health Care Program, or TRICARE or through an employer (or as a dependent of a covered employee) in the small group market."



House bill: "SEC. 301. INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY. For an individual's responsibility to obtain acceptable coverage, see section 59B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (as added by section 401 of this Act)."

___

Senate Finance bill:

"The credit generally is delivered as follows: the eligible individual sends his or her portion of the premium to the Treasury, and the Treasury then pays the full premium (the individual's portion and the amount of the refundable tax credit) to the insurer."



House bill:

"(2) the Commissioner shall pay the QHBP offering entity that offers such plan from the Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund the aggregate amount of affordability credits for all affordable credit eligible individuals enrolled in such plan."