Universal Health Care Plan Looks Likely

Compromise bill may include an 'Orbitz for insurance'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2009 10:00 AM CDT
Max Baucus and Charles Grassley stand with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who are negotiating Barack Obama's ambitious plan to provide health insurance for all.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, FILE)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's overhaul of the American health care system is quietly taking shape, and Democrats and Republicans both say a consensus plan looks likely. Politico reports on what the health reform bill, which must be passed by August, might look like: Guaranteed insurance for all Americans, who will probably be required to buy it, and will be able to keep it when they switch or lose jobs—with taxes on the top-earning Americans paying for much of the cost.

Other major features of the compromise plan may include:

  • An "Orbitz for insurance" marketplace that will let individuals and employers compare plans side-by-side, which has strong support from both the GOP and Dems.
  • Taxes on health benefits provided through employers to help cover the $1 trillion cost.
  • Mandates on citizens to buy coverage or else face tax penalties. Some Republicans are pushing for an automatic enrollment system.
  • A public insurance program to compete with private care—though that Democrat-led fight has a way to go.