Let’s see if this one takes. After critics blasted an earlier, more expensive version, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee took another crack at a plan to provide coverage for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. The latest plan, released Thursday, comes at the lower cost of $611.4 billion, as opposed to the $1 trillion proposal that didn’t go over so well last month.


The vast difference in dollar figures results in large part from a section in the proposal that would slap penalties on employers who don’t offer employee health benefits. Under the proposal, firms with 25 or more employees that don’t offer coverage would face fees of $750-per-year for full-time workers and $375-per-year for part-time workers.

The employer mandate would keep more people in their employer-based coverage, instead of forcing a migration of workers to the individual health insurance market. That migration is costly, because the legislation would provide subsidies for low and middle-income workers to purchase insurance on the individual market.

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