Reid releases manager's amendment to health bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) released his manager's amendment to the Senate healthcare bill on Saturday.

The amendment marks the final package of changes and last-minute tweaks to Democrats' health reform legislation before the Senate moves toward finalizing and passing the legislation this week.

The manager's amendment can be read here (PDF).

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) forced the clerk of the Senate to read the 383-page amendment aloud to the entire chamber this morning in a bid to stall debate on the overall bill.

Update, 9:47 a.m.: Reid spokesman Jim Manley offers these notes on the manager's amendment:

The manager’s amendment builds upon the strong bill we already have.

  • Protects our good coverage, cost, and affordability numbers
  • Reduces Deficits – estimated to save over $130 billion first ten and roughly $650 billion second ten
  • Expands Coverage – over 94 percent of Americans under 65 years of age, including over 31 million uninsured
  • Reduces Costs - most Americans will see their health care costs reduced relative to projected levels Makes health care more affordable for Americans by expanding small business tax credits
  • $12 billion increase
  • Begins in 2010
  • Expands wage thresholds for tax credits Demands greater accountability from insurance companies/ creates more choice and competition
  • Medical Loss Ratio 85/80 percent – Insurance companies will be forced to spend more money on care and less money padding their bottom line.
  • Starting immediately children cannot be denied health coverage due to pre-existing conditions
  • Insurance companies who jack up their rates will be barred from competing in the exchange.
  • Give patients the right to appeal to an independent board if an insurance company denies a coverage claim
  • Health insurers will offer national plans to Americans under the supervision of the Office of Personnel Management, the same entity that oversees health plans for Members of Congress.
  • Provides significant resources for Community Health Centers