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Three Former Senators Unveil Health Care Plan

Three former Senators-turned-lobbyists have announced what they claim is a comprehensive and budget-neutral health care plan that both Democrats and Republicans can support.

Former Senate leaders Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday unveiled a blueprint that includes a public plan compromise and a requirement that all Americans must purchase insurance, a plan they’d like to see their one-time colleagues take up.

They released their proposal, drafted under the auspices of the Bipartisan Policy Center, at Union Station’s Columbus Club.

Though all three men represent private-sector clients with a stake in the health care debate, they said they arrived at their ideas through negotiations with each other and based on the efforts of their two staff directors, Democrat Chris Jennings, a health care consultant who served in the Clinton administration, and Republican Mark McClellan, who served as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the recent Bush administration.

The plan, according to its backers, would ensure health care coverage for all U.S. citizens and legal residents. It would include both individual and employer requirements. The measure would not break the bank, its crafters say, because it also calls for savings with new health care information technologies and with such things as a cap to the employer coverage income tax exclusion.

The Daschle-Dole-Baker plan includes a public plan “compromise— that would allow states the option to establish programs of their own, with technical assistance coming from the federal government. The plan would make the states compete on a “level playing field— with private industry, they said.

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