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.
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