Democrats on a key Senate Committee outlined a revised and far less costly health care plan Wednesday night that includes a government-run insurance option and an annual fee on employers who do not offer coverage to their workers.This is much better than what Sen. Max Baucus and his Finance Committee currently seem to be working up. Let's hope the version that gets put to a vote looks more like this and not something significantly watered-down. The fact is that Democrats have 60 seats now. The Ben Nelsons and the Joe Liebermans don't have to vote for the final bill, but they at least should vote for cloture on any bill and not allow the Republicans to filibuster. To not do so will be simply disgraceful and their colleagues and constituents need to make that known sooner rather than later.
The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly over $600 billion, and would lead toward an estimated 97 percent of all Americans having coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
By contrast, an earlier, incomplete proposal carried a price tag of roughly $1 trillion and would have left millions uninsured, CBO analysts said in mid-June.
The letter indicated the cost and coverage improvements resulted from two changes. The first calls for a government-run health insurance option to compete with private coverage plans, an option that has drawn intense opposition from Republicans.
"We must not settle for legislation that merely gestures at reform," the two Democrats wrote. "We must deliver on the promise of true change."
UPDATE: More encouraging - all thirteen Dems on the HELP committee will be voting for the plan.