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Affordable Health Care for America Act includes Weakened Public Option

Affordable Health Care for America Act includes Weakened Public Option

“Today we are about to deliver on the promise of making affordable quality health care available for all Americans, laying the foundation for a brighter future for generations to come. The Affordable Health Care for America Act is founded on key principals of American success — opportunity, choice, competition, and innovation. We have listened to the American people. We are putting forth a bill that reflects our best values and addresses our greatest challenges.” – Nancy Pelosi, October 29, 2009

The Affordable Health Care for America Act evolved out of the three versions passed by House committees earlier this year, and includes cost savings in Medicaid and Medicare and a public option. Under this weaker public option, providers will be able to negotiate reimbursement rates with the federal government rather than being based on Medicare rates. Regulations on out-of-pocket costs are expected to lower costs for the middle class.

Most individuals would be required to carry insurance; large firms would be required to cover workers; insurers would no longer be able to refuse to provide coverage to anyone or to charge more because of a pre-existing condition; and the bil would strip the industry of its exemption from antitrust laws.

The bill also includes cost cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, expanded guidelines for Medicaid eligibility, an immediate push to close the Medicare donut hole. Regulations on out-of-pockets costs are intended to ease the burden on families. Small businesses will have immediate access to insurance exchanges. 

The tax on the wealthiest Americans now applies only to couples earning more than $1 million per year, or singles earning $500,000.

The entire text of the new 1,990 page bill is expected to be available online early next week and the House will begin debate by the end of the week. The House bill, if it passes, will then be merged with the final bill that comes out of the Senate before it makes its way to the President’s desk. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said publicly that the Senate bill will also contain a public insurance plan.

As expected, Republicans quickly denounced the bill as a government takeover of health care and that “Republicans have better solutions…”

We can expect next week to be an interesting one, indeed.

Related Actions:

The health care industry blatantly discriminates against women. Sign the petition and tell Congress: Being a Woman is NOT a Pre-Existing Condition. 

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12:48PM PST on Feb 16, 2010

The Public Option LIVES!!!!

For months now D.C. insiders and T.V. blowhards have said the public option is dead, but Senator Michael Bennet (CO) just proved them wrong and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), and Sherrod Brown (OH) have already stood up to join him.

These four Senate Healthcare Heroes are circulating a letter calling on Majority Leader Reid to use reconciliation to pass healthcare reform with the choice of a public option.


Thanks to your hard work, 120 House Democrats signed and delivered the Polis/Pingree letter to Harry Reid a little over a week ago.

Four Senate Healthcare Heroes saw that leadership and your hard work -- and aren't sitting around and hoping for change -- they're taking the lead and making it happen.

Think of it this way: if this was a football game, House Democrats threw the Senate a Hail Mary pass and these four Senators just caught it. But now, they have to score the touchdown. That means we need to call on other Senators to join them.

So today, members of Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO Action, and MoveOn are calling their Senators and demanding they sign Senator Bennet's Public Option letter too -- and join these Healthcare Heroes in fighting for real reform.

We won't quit until we win.

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director

9:01PM PST on Nov 4, 2009

Steve R, the countries you mention have tax rates of about 55% and soaring unemployment rates to boot -- that's how they pay for government health care programs.

2:19PM PST on Nov 2, 2009

I don't think we should offer this Healthcare program unless our elected officials are willing to participate in it. When asked if they would be willing to allow their families to be in this system not one of them answered affirmatively and the most "deafening silence" came from our own Mr. Obama. That is very telling as to what kind of plan this is going to be.

4:59AM PST on Nov 2, 2009


yes both amendments should be reinstated, but of course few politicians want to anger the insurance industry.

8:55PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

As far as I am concerned the american government is currently in debt of over 10 trillion dollars. And I don't understand how anyone can be able to pay for the health care of over 300 million people with such an enormous initial debt. There is obviously a catch involved somewhere in here.

3:40PM PST on Nov 1, 2009

The Kucinich and Weiner amendments should be restored, or added to the final bill.

8:57PM PDT on Oct 31, 2009

Stacie Stark - no, I don't want the wealthy to pay for my health care. It's not their obligation.

Yes - I believe that our tax system is broken just as badly as our health care is, and that if a more structured tax code was devised, that would lessen the burden on the poor and middle class and spread it more evenly across the spectrum, we'd have more money available.

But you can't just raise taxes on the rich to pay for the poor - that was Robin Hood dear, and I think he was a crook if I remember correctly.

Obama at one stage promised to cut programs that don't work and use the money elsewhere. Well, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Federal Reserve and the bailouts amongst others are all programs that do not work - they just cost an incredible amount of OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

I suggest he summon up the guts to cut those programs and use the money to take care of we the people for a change.

We MUST HAVE a good, robust, affordable, guaranteed public health care option that will force insurance companies to compete and health care providers and drug companies to lower their costs.

It's our RIGHT as taxpayers - not a privelege!

8:45PM PDT on Oct 31, 2009

Scott Christensen - if our government brought our troops home from two pointless wars, and shut down 139 pointless bases in foreign countries, it would save enough money that comes from YOU AND ME in the first place - to give FREE health care to every American. And by the way - it would save thousands of American lives as well.

Then - if our government shut down the Federal Reserve, which is a PRIVATE BANKING CARTEL that prints our money, loans it to the government and charges nearly a trillion dollars a year in interest, we'd have enough money to provide FREE social security to ALL Americans. The treasury is quite capable of printing our money at a cost of a fraction of a trillion dollars a year.

And finally - if the government cut this bailout crap, which has given more than a trillion of OUR DOLLARS to greedy corporations that went and paid it out in bonuses without any shame whatsoever, it could even afford to cut our taxes.

Don't ask "who is going to pay for this" as if it's something we should ignore in favor of the status quo I have outlined above.

I believe this is somewhat more important than those other things the government is wasting our money on, don't you?

Have you wondered how Canada, Britain, France, Germany and even South Africa amongst others, can afford to pay for it?

Well let's see - maybe they aren't trying to play God with the rest of the world, fighting wars that don't need to be fought and allocating money to what is RIGHT!

8:18PM PDT on Oct 31, 2009

The gov has been involved with the H1N1 vaccine program spending billions of taxpayers dollars. The result is an inefficient system, not enough vaccines, not enough safety testing on the vaccines they do have. It is a failed program. Just like any gov run medical program will be.

12:16PM PDT on Oct 31, 2009

Maybe the wealthy should pay for it...instead of using their money to buy every new car that comes out. I seriously believe that anyone who makes more then $400,000/year should be required by law to give 10% of their money away...and this is the perfect opportunity.

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