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Senate bill fines people refusing health coverage.

July 3, 2009

obama-marxWASHINGTON (AP) — Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of more than $1,000 under a health care overhaul bill unveiled Thursday by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the fines will raise around $36 billion over 10 years. Senate aides said the penalties would be modeled on the approach taken by Massachusetts, which now imposes a fine of about $1,000 a year on individuals who refuse to get coverage. Under the federal legislation, families would pay higher penalties than individuals.

In a revamped health care system envisioned by lawmakers, people would be required to carry health insurance just like motorists must get auto coverage now. The government would provide subsidies for the poor and many middle-class families, but those who still refuse to sign up would face penalties.

Called “shared responsibility payments,” the fines would be set at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation.

In 2008, employer-provided coverage averaged $12,680 a year for a family plan, and $4,704 for individual coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey. Senate aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the cost of the federal plan would be lower but declined to provide specifics.

The legislation would exempt certain hardship cases from fines.

The new proposals were released as Congress neared the end of a weeklong July 4 break, with lawmakers expected to quickly take up health care legislation when they return to Washington. With deepening divisions along partisan and ideological lines, the complex legislation faces an uncertain future.

Obama wants a bill this year that would provide coverage to the nearly 50 million Americans who lack it and reduce medical costs.

In a statement, Obama welcomed the legislation, saying it “reflects many of the principles I’ve laid out, such as reforms that will prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the concept of insurance exchanges where individuals can find affordable coverage if they lose their jobs, move or get sick.”

The Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions bill also calls for a government-run insurance option to compete with private plans as well as a $750-per-worker annual fee on larger companies that do not offer coverage to employees.

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said in a letter to colleagues that their revised plan would cost dramatically less than an earlier, incomplete proposal, and help show the way toward coverage for 97 percent of all Americans.

In a conference call with reporters, Dodd said the revised bill had brought “historic reform of health care” closer. He said the bill’s public option will bring coverage and benefit decisions driven “not by what generates the biggest profits, but by what works best for American families.”

The two senators said the Congressional Budget Office put the cost of the proposal at $611.4 billion over 10 years, down from $1 trillion two weeks ago.

However, the total cost of legislation will rise considerably once provisions are added to subsidize health insurance for the poor through Medicaid. Those additions, needed to ensure coverage for nearly all U.S. residents, are being handled by a separate panel, the Senate Finance Committee. Bipartisan talks on the Finance panel aim to hold the overall price tag to $1 trillion.

The Health Committee could complete its portion of the bill as soon as next week, and the presence of a government health insurance option virtually assures a party-line vote.

In the Senate, the Finance Committee version of the bill is unlikely to include a government-run insurance option. Bipartisan negotiations are centered on a proposal for a nonprofit insurance cooperative as a competitor to private companies.

Three committees are collaborating in the House on legislation expected to come to a vote by the end of July. That measure is certain to include a government-run insurance option.

At their heart, all the bills would require insurance companies to sell coverage to any applicant, without charging higher premiums for pre-existing medical conditions. The poor and some middle-class families would qualify for government subsidies to help with the cost of coverage. The government’s costs would be covered by a combination of higher taxes and cuts in projected Medicare and Medicaid spending.
API Story

  1. July 3, 2009 7:57 am

    You do realize that so did Hillary’s, right? Her plan mandated healthcare. Obama at the time said that he wouldn’t, but then once in office realizes that the only way to have national healthcare work is to mandate it.

  2. July 3, 2009 8:02 am

    Wait, i take that back, she hadn’t come up with a fine yet, she said that it was one option. and she hadn’t come up with a fee schedule for it.

  3. July 3, 2009 9:29 am

    Hillary’s plan was paid for with Tax Credits to Individuals, Families and Small Business with any shortages covered by a small percentage of your income or government assistance.

    Obama accused Hillary of making it mandatory with fines.

    Funny, that- now he’s having legislation passed making Health Care mandatory for everyone w/fines if you refuse to be covered. This among the myriad of new Taxes he plans on passing like the mileage Tax.

    Where your car’s mileage will be monitored and Taxed accordingly per mile.

  4. July 3, 2009 10:53 pm

    The Thousand dollar penalty seems harsh, but I understand the reasoning behind it. Tough call.

  5. July 21, 2009 5:43 am

    What a complete joke this website is. You bunch of morons are not only WRONG, but because you BASTARDS are not in power any longer your pathetic postering isn’t even RELEVANT or THREATENING.


  6. July 21, 2009 7:51 pm

    Don’t mind Chuck too much. He obnoxiously introduced himself on the Chase Sucks forum, I see he is in fine form as usual.

  7. July 24, 2009 12:07 pm

    You mean to tell me, you Kool-Aid drinking Obama supporters still exist?

    Obama’s Poll Numbers are falling like a rock. People are starting to wake-up to the Fraud in Chief!

    Is that how they spell LOSER in Kenyan?

  8. July 24, 2009 8:18 pm

    Any president deserves at least one year to show what they are about. Bill Clinton floundered for at least the first six months, maybe it was as much as a year or more.

    It was when he stood up to the republicans who tried to state a strike in congress to get their budget approved that Bill Clinton showed some mettle.

    Ironically, Barack Obama’s perceived biggest ally, a democratic majority congress, may be what hurts him the most.

    That and believing that Jamie Dimon is the number one banker out there, that is just a deal breaker, even for an Obot.

  9. July 28, 2009 12:00 am

    I don’t remember Bill Clinton ever floundering- I do remember he was unmercifully persecuted by RW Neocons 2 yrs before he ran for president and 8 more years after he was elected though.

    The republicans didn’t try to stage a strike…they did strike, twice. It was because Clinton said, “NO” (you say, stood-up) to Gingrich’s proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, education, environmental controls.

    I care about People getting hurt. The Congress isn’t representing us as it is… and I could not care less if Congress hurts Obama. It goes with the territory and part of his job.

  10. August 1, 2009 6:01 am

    To; Tellurian





  11. August 1, 2009 2:04 pm

    Chuck thinks PUMA’s are Republicans. While some may be, he can’t seem to fathom that they are also upset Hillary Clinton supporters who saw how Barack Obama cheated in the democratic caucus contests.

  12. August 14, 2009 6:51 am

    You PUMAS are out of touch, Hillary Clinton is Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, they are on the SAME TEAM!



    Chuck, your rants are old and boring and quite frankly a little late to the dance.

    The numbers don’t LIE is right. Thats why Hillary is out polling Obama 2 to 1 daily.

    Obama needs Hillary because she’s his only competent employee he has in his vast array of superfluous
    dept czars and advisers.

  13. August 14, 2009 7:15 am

    Actually Charles, the popular vote was 50.00 to Barack, 49.99 percent to Hillary, when both Florida and Michigan ARE NOT counted.

    This includes the 100,000 votes for Barack Obama that magically came into North Carolina prior to voting day, and the very late voting results from a precinct in Indiana that magically went for Barack Obama by like a 90-10 margin.

    Hillary Clinton actually won more delegates than Barack Obama in all the non caucus states.

    Barack Obama cheated in the caucus contests, evidenced by his 12 highest margins of victories all being from caucus contests, NONE from the primary contests. That is almost a statistical impossibility unless cheating was involved.

    If the caucus contests were true representations of how the people felt in those states, no way they would be occupy Barack Obama’s 12 highest winning margin of victories, they would be interspersed with margins of victories from the primary contests as well.

    The sleazy elements that Barack Obama needed to win, like calling the Clintons racists in South Carolina, claiming the Clintons were anti union in Vegas, accepting FAKE DONATIONS in the millions of dollars, are the very elements that are hampering Barack Obama from doing a good job now.

    Barack Obama’s admiration of Jamie Dimon of Chase bank is the ultimate slap in the face to middle america.

  14. August 14, 2009 8:23 am

    Chuck you are a font of misinformation.

    Actually, you sound like some poor, lonely, affected individual channeling Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

    The proof Obama didn’t win the nomination fair and square is in the video above.

  15. August 14, 2009 8:24 am

  16. Yellar permalink
    September 3, 2009 4:56 pm

    You Obama Bastards will not be alive after the Revolution

  17. Yellar permalink
    September 3, 2009 5:02 pm

    Hillary,Obama, same communist party called BUILDABERGER. Look it up, it will scare the Hell out of you. Now vote for some honest people before we go under.

  18. September 5, 2009 1:03 am

    The Communist Party doesn’t exist anymore. Look it up.

    FYI- The Buildabergers are an elite group who discuss Global issues and solutions.

    Your a squeaker, not a Yellar!


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