Hearing and listening to all of the media hype of the last few days, one could be convinced that the Baucus version released a couple of days ago is the only legislation being seriously considered in the present debate. Far from it. Not only do he have at least one House version of proposed health reform legislation, we also have another Senate version which was Reported by the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP on July 15, 2009 and introduced yesterday as the Affordable Health Choices Act S. 1679 by the Senate HELP Committee Chairman,Tom Harkin.
This bill certainly represents a different viewpoint on health care reform than the Baucus bill and we hope it will help to level the playing field in the ongong debates and discussion on health care. The HELP Committee legislation does provide for a public option. Here is some of the language from TitleXXXI Affordable Health Care Choices for All Americans that appears on page 43 of the proposed legislation:
”(3) OFFERING OF COVERAGE.-
17 ”(A) IN GENERAL.-A Gateway shall make 18 available qualified health plans to qualified individuals and qualified employers.
20 ”(B) INCLUSION.-In making available 21 coverage pursuant to subparagraph (A), a Gateway shall include a public health insurance option.
Like the Baucus bill, the HELP Committee legislation has been going through its own evolution, the September 17, 2009 version contains changes from the July 15 version,. To enable you see these changes we have provided a link below to the Affordable Health Choices Act as introduced on September 17 and a second link to a chart which compares the July 15 and September 17 versions of the HELP Committee legislation.and indicates the changes between them..