President Obama Presents Overhauled Health Care Reform Bill Following Setbacks
Reporting from Washington - Four days before his planned health summit with congressional leaders, President Obama on Monday morning unveiled his proposal to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, building on the gargantuan legislation developed by Senate Democrats last year.
Despite hints leading up to Monday’s unveiling that Mr. Obama’s plan would include a "public option" – a government-run insurance plan designed to compete with private insurers – it does not. But his plan does set up an insurance marketplace, or "exchange," in which consumers can shop for coverage. The plan would also create new federal authority to rein in rate hikes deemed exorbitant, a hot issue following double-digit increases announced earlier this month by Anthem Blue Cross of California.
The combined plan calls for new federal oversight of health insurance company practices, including rate hikes; new tax credits to offset the cost of insurance premiums; excise taxes on high-cost, so-called "Cadillac" health care plans; and closing the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in the existing prescription drug plan for seniors.