In an 18-page document, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) lays out a framework for reforming the healthcare system in a way that could win a few GOP votes, calm nervous centrist Democrats and present President Barack Obama and congressional Democratic leaders with a pathway to victory.

As previously reported-- and similar to measures already passed by three House committees and one other Senate committee -- the framework outlines sweeping health insurance market reforms designed to make coverage more available, provides tax credits for low- and middle-income individuals and those employed by small businesses and expands Medicaid eligibility. Medicare beneficiaries would receive a 50 percent discount on their medications during the so-called coverage gap in the program's prescription drug benefit.

Unlike the other pending bills, however, Baucus's proposal does not include a government-run public option insurance program that would compete with private insurance companies in the individual and small-business market. Instead, the measure would establish federally chartered, not-for-profit, member-owned healthcare cooperatives as an alternative to traditional private insurers.

The bill would require new federal spending of about $900 billion over 10 years, a few hundred billion dollars less than the other measures, partly because of less generous subsidies for insurance. Baucus would fully pay for his measure, in part by levying an excise tax on health insurance companies when they sell high-cost insurance plans. Not-for-profit hospitals, drug companies, medical device manufacturers, health insurers and clinical laboratories would be assessed new fees. In addition, the proposal would raise money by limiting the tax advantages for health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.

The document, which is the first summary ever issued by Baucus's office of the legislation he and his "gang of six" bipartisan negotiators have been developing for months, closely matches a verbal description Baucus offered in July before the Senate recessed for the summer.

Baucus has been working on the bill with Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Democratic Sens. Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) and GOP Sens. Mike Enzi (Wyo.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine).

Baucus will meet with the "gang" Tuesday afternoon to apply pressure on them to accept the framework. If they do not, Democrats are expected to go it alone on healthcare reform, though the White House has been heavily courting Snowe.