Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released the long awaited health insurance reform package that merges bills advanced by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), would cost roughly $848 billion over 10 years and to extend coverage to 31 million people by 2019. However, it would leave 24 million without coverage.
Senator Reid’s bill includes a public insurance option with a state opt-out, and creates state-based insurance exchanges to expand access to affordable insurance and create new non-profit co-ops. Initial procedural votes on the legislation could take place as early as this weekend. Analysis of the Senate health reform legislation will be available momentarily.