Kennedy's Health-Care Measure To Require Employers to Chip In
By Ceci Connolly, Staff Writer
Friday, May 29, 2009
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) is circulating the outlines of
sweeping health-care legislation that would require every
American to have insurance and would mandate that employers
contribute to workers' coverage.
The plan in the summary document, provided by two Democrats who
do not work for Kennedy, closely resembles extensive changes
enacted in the senator's home state three years ago.
In many respects it adopts the most liberal approaches to health
reform being discussed in
Washington. Kennedy, for example,
embraces a proposal to create a government-sponsored insurance
program to compete directly with existing private insurance
plans, according to one senior adviser who was not authorized to
talk to reporters.
The draft summary also calls for opening Medicaid to those whose
incomes are 500 percent of the federal poverty level, or
$110,250 a year for a family of four.
President Obama, meanwhile, is urging his most loyal supporters
to reactivate the grass-roots machine that helped elect him and
direct it toward health-care reform.
"If we don't get it done this year, we're not going to get it
done," he said yesterday in a call to members of Organizing for America, the
political group formed to advance his agenda. "And to do
that we're going to need all of you to mobilize."
A top administration official said the White House expects
Kennedy to unveil his bill Monday. A timetable released by
Kennedy's office calls for Democrats on the Senate health
committee to meet Tuesday, with a bipartisan session scheduled
for Friday. Committee markups could begin June 16.
If the ailing lawmaker keeps to that ambitious schedule, it
would put him ahead of several other Democratic leaders crafting
Kennedy spokesman Anthony Coley declined to discuss the summary
document, saying, "We are still actively negotiating with
members" of the committee, which Kennedy chairs. "There is
no final policy."