The Senate passed a healthcare reform bill 60 (all democrats) to 39 (all republicans). To summarize it’s contents:
“The bill would require most Americans to have health insurance, would add 15 million people to the Medicaid rolls and would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people, at a cost to the government of $871 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”
This does not mean that health reform has passed. The Senate and House must both agree to pass the bill, something that has not yet happened.
Key items in the bill are provisions for guaranteed issue and community rating. This means that “ insurers could not deny coverage because of a person’s medical condition; could not charge higher premiums because of a person’s sex or health status; and could not rescind coverage when a person becomes sick or disabled.”
While the Senate reform bill does a good job of extending insurance coverage to many Americans, it will not decrease the cost of health insurance. In fact, the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions mean that the cost of health insurance will likely increase.