5696255Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled his health care proposal "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" on Wednesday night.
The Congressional Budget Office says the bill would cost $848 billion dollars over 10 years, reduce the deficit by $130 billion and would extend coverage to 94 percent of eligible Americans, reducing the number of uninsured individuals by 31 million leaving about 24 million people uninsured.
Here's a look at some of the key provisions of the bill:
• Effective Date 2014
• Requires most individuals to purchase coverage through their employer, privately or through a public plan. Includes exemptions for economic hardships. Fines for individuals not complying would start at $95 in 2014 phased-in over time up to $750.
• Creates a new public federal health insurance plan, the so-called "public option" which would compete with private insurers. States would have the choice of opting out by passing a state law.
• Establishes Health Insurance Exchanges, a marketplace where individuals, small businesses and others could purchase health care coverage.
• Insurance companies could not refuse coverage based on pre-existing condition. Would not allow higher premiums for pre-existing conditions or based on gender.
• Allows children to stay on their parents plan up to age 26.
• There's no employer mandate, but fines are paid by companies if the government subsidizes employees coverage.
• Extends tax credits to individuals and families earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, on a sliding scale depending on income. On the low end of the scale Americans would pay no more than 2 percent of their income on premiums, rising to 9.8 percent at the high end of the scale.
• Forty percent Tax on high premium insurance plans, so-called "Cadillac" plans, those plans costing over $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families.
• Creates a new 5 percent tax on elective Cosmetic Surgery
• Increases Medicare payroll taxes by one-half percent to 1.95 percent for individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000.
• Limitations on Health flexible spending accounts, capping annual contributions at $2,500.
• Provides for one year additional $500 dollars for seniors before hitting the Medicare donut hole, but does not close the donut hole.
• Expands Medicaid program for low – income people from 100 percent of poverty level to 133 percent of poverty level.
• Immigrants in the country illegally would not receive health care subsidies, nor would they be able to obtain insurance through an insurance exchange.
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