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Affordable Health Choices Act

June 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A draft copy of Senator Ted Kennedy’s landmark comprehensive health care reform legislation was released today by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Click here to download a copy of the bill (615 pages), entitled the Affordable Health Choices Act.

To make quality, affordable health care available to all Americans, reduce costs, improve health care quality, enhance disease prevention, and strengthen the health care workforce.

Here’s the accompanying press release.

The version of the bill that will eventually be voted on by the Senate will likely be significantly different from what was released today. A lot will be changed and things will be added during the committee markup process. Notably, the two most controversial sections – the public option and how to pay for the whole thing – are not included in the version released today. Those things are still being worked out and will be released later in the week and next week.

David Waldman at Congress Matters doesn’t think this initial draft bodes well for the eventual inclusion a public option. “Who releases half-finished drafts of historic legislation like this? And then releases the key (and perhaps most controversial part of it) on a Friday, with a markup scheduled the following Tuesday?”

The House Ways and Means Committee also released an outline (pdf) of what will likely be included in their version of health care reform legislation. According to the outline, their version includes a public option that would operate on a level playing field with private insurers. The Associated Press is reporting that “House Democrats are considering a new tax on employer-provided health benefits to help pay for expanding coverage to the uninsured.” But that is not made explicit in the outline released today.

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