While the bill has wide Democratic support in the Senate, Republicans are hesitant to believe that the bill will be budget-neutral. The plan will be paid for by Medicare cuts and increased taxes, such as a tax on high-premium "Cadillac plans."
Some provisions of the bill include:
- A public health care plan, with an option to the states to opt out of the system if they want to;
- Employers under the House bill (except some small businesses) would be mandated to provide coverage to their employees; under the Senate bill, employers who do not offer coverage will only be fined $750 per employee;
- Individuals (except illegal immigrants) who do not have access to affordable coverage through their employers would be able to purchase it from a multi-state exchange;
- 5 percent excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery; and
- A firewall segregating private insurance funds used to cover abortion from public funds; the HHS Secretary will be given discretion to determine whether or not public funding will be available for abortions.
The Senate is expected to hold a vote this Saturday to introduce the bill for debate.