For those still confused about the various health reform bills – six in ten are confused, and half say they don't know enough to form an opinion, the New York Times reports – news organizations offer a series of primers on key bills and provisions today. The New York Times
: New subsidies, expanded state and federal programs, and tougher regulation would help more people buy insurance. Taxes – especially on health plans that offer expensive policies - and Medicare cuts would help pay for it. A step by step review of goals and proposals helps explain those issues (Herszenhorn, 9/30). The Associated Press
: The Senate Finance Committee's proposal is not yet finalized, but if Democrats who control the panel get their way, a vote is expected this week. The $900 billion proposal would cover 95 percent of Americans, and is paid for by fees to health industry groups, taxes and Medicare cuts. This primer summarizes the bill's key provisions (9/30). The Wall Street Journal
: Healthy Consumer columnist Anna Wilde Mathews walks would-be health care consumers through the post-reform world, pointing out provisions that are most likely to affect them: taxes, premiums, exemptions from individual mandates, plan design and changes to Medicare (Mathews, 9/30). The Associated Press
: In a separate brief, the AP answers specific questions about the possible creation of health insurance cooperatives, an alternative to the public health plan sought by liberal Democrats. Co-ops may not have enough appeal to win over many Democrats, or enough market clout to make much of a difference if they are created (Woodward, 9/30). The Washington Post
: Another issue-specific explainer defines the so-called "Cadillac" plan, a costly health benefits package that Senate Democrats may target with an overhaul-funding tax. "Many proponents of taxing high-end employer-based coverage have singled out the titans of Wall Street," but more common are costly plans negotiated by labor unions (Richburg, 10/1).