Under a new bill introduced Wednesday, all Americans would have to buy health care insurance or pay a fine, and insurance companies would be forbidden to charge higher premiums to people with serious health problems.
The $856 billion, 10-year version of health system reform was introduced by Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. There don't appear to be any Republican backers, which means the bill faces a rough ride through Congress, the Associated Press reported.
"The Finance Committee has carefully worked through the details of health care reform to ensure this package works for patients, for health care providers and for our economy," Baucus said.
Under a new purchasing exchange, people could shop for and compare insurance plans. The bill would also expand Medicaid and place caps on patients' yearly health costs, the AP reported.
The bill doesn't include a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, once one of the key goals of President Barack Obama's proposed health care reform package.