Policy-ish

Baucus Health Bill Released

Finally, Senator Max Baucus has released his blueprint for remaking health care.

senator baucus smiles. i i

Sen. Baucus shows his health cards. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images
senator baucus smiles.

Sen. Baucus shows his health cards.

Getty Images

The America's Health Future Act of 2009 weighs in at 223 pages, so we know what we'll be doing for the next couple of hours.

Please join us in perusing the proposal. Even though it's long, it's a so-called chairman's mark, meaning it's written in something approaching regular English instead of hardcore legislativese.

Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is supposed to brief reporters in a couple of hours on the plan.

One item we noticed right away is a section that spells out how insurance exchanges for folks to buy coverage would prevent illegal immigrants from getting federal subsidies. There was lots of noise about the lack of specifics in on this front in the House bills. Just ask Joe Wilson.

Baucus's bill would require verification of personal data, including social security number and citizenship status. The exchanges would check the Department of Homeland Security on the status of legal residents who aren't citizens. The Baucus bill anticipates the bureaucratic swamp that people may have to wade through in proving their status and says:

Individuals whose claims of citizenship or lawful status cannot be verified with federal data must be allowed substantial opportunity to provide documentation or correct federal data related to their case that supports their contention.

That could open a whole new can of controversy.

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