In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Baucus Unveils Health Care Plan Without Public Option

Dw090421072-jpg
Newscom / Scott J. Ferrell

One potential answer is that this legislation--if it passes the Finance Committee--will have to be reconciled with Senate HELP committee legislation, which does include a public option. And it can be argued, perhaps, that the half way point between a public option and no public option is a triggered public option.

The Baucus plan also includes weaker subsidies than the HELP committee proposed, raising some concern that, if enacted, it would require uninsured people of modest means to spend a significant percentage of their income on expensive private insurance.

Late update: Just a few more details on Baucus' plan. It is expected to cost somewhere in the vicinity of $850 and $900 billion, to be paid for with efficiencies wrung from Medicare and Medicaid, along with a tax on insurance companies aimed at their high-end health care policies.

According to the Times, "[t]he hope is that employers would buy cheaper, less generous coverage for employees, thereby reducing the overuse of medical services."

It would also provide some protection for people with incomes from 300 percent to 400 percent of the poverty level (up to $88,200 for a family of four), so they would generally not have to pay more than 13 percent of their income in premiums....

To compare health plans, experts often focus on the percentage of medical expenses paid by insurance, on average, for a given population. This figure ranges from 70 percent to 95 percent under the House bill's options, but it would be less than 70 percent under Mr. Baucus's proposal.

Thirteen percent of $88,200 is just a hair under $11,500 a year--a ceiling of sorts on the vulnerability of the 2.7 million uninsured people, between 300 and 400 percent of the poverty line, who would be mandated to buy private health care with no subsidies.

Later update: An earlier version of this post reported that the Baucus plan would create neither a public option nor private health care co-ops, but, according to CNN, it would allow for the creation of private health care co-ops.

About The Author

Ivcd1zuomgpknmdsebhc

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

Progress overnight on deployment of new commenting system. We hope to move into a short beta-testing phase shortly.