WASHINGTON BUREAU — House Democrats today unveiled a health bill that includes provisions calling for a “public option,” a health insurance exchange, an employer mandate and appointment of a federal “health choices commissioner.”
Another noteworthy provision of the bill, H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Insurance Choices Act,” would place a 5.4% surtax on individuals and families with annual gross income exceeding $1 million.
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, scheduled a committee vote on the bill for Thursday.
The House Education and Labor Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee also would have to vote on the bill before it could go to the House floor.
House leaders are hoping to pass a health bill before the House starts its month-long summer recess July 31.
Along with creating the public option and the insurance exchange, the bill would:
- Cut payments to Medicare Advantage starting in 2011, with payments to insurers in excess to those paid for fee-for-services plans to be based on a complex formula partially determined through creation of quality-of-service standards.
- Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and it also would require all Americans to obtain health insurance. The bill would impose a tax on individuals who fail to buy health coverage.