Long-Awaited Health-Care Proposal Unveiled

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee unveiled a summary of his long-awaited health-care reform bill Wednesday, setting the stage for a legislative showdown on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

The bill crafted by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, would cost $856 billion over 10 years and mandate insurance coverage for every American.

The measure drops the public option favored by Obama and many Democratic leaders, according to a press release obtained by CNN. As expected, the plan instead calls for the creation of non-profit health-care cooperatives.

As with other reform proposals, the bill would bar insurance companies from dropping a policyholder in the event of illness as long as that person had paid his or her premium in full. It would add new protections for people with pre-existing conditions and establish tax credits to help low- and middle-income families purchase insurance coverage.

The plan also would create health-insurance exchanges to make it easier for small groups and individuals to buy insurance.

The Senate Finance Committee is the last of five congressional committees needed to approve health-care legislation proposals before the topic can be taken up by both the full Senate and the full House of Representatives.

Various forms of the legislation proposed by Democrats have already cleared three House committees, as well as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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