WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- House Democrats unveiled a $1.2 trillion healthcare reform plan Tuesday designed to ensure all Americans have access to health insurance.
The plan, which includes a government-funded health insurance option, would slow the growth of Medicare, penalize employers who don't provide workers coverage and raise taxes on the highest-income Americans, proponents say.
In a summary of the measure, House Democrats said it is in keeping with President Barack Obama's goals to reduce spiraling costs, foster competition among insurers, improve choices for patients and expand quality, affordable care to all Americans.
"The bill builds on what works in today's healthcare system and fixes the parts that are broken," the summary said. "It protects current coverage -- allowing individuals to keep the insurance they have if they like it -- and preserves choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans."
To help pay for the plan, surtaxes, ranging from 1 percent to 5.4 percent, would be imposed on individuals with gross annual incomes exceeding $280,000 and families making more than $350,000 a year.
That means a family making $500,000 would pay an additional $1,500 in income tax, The New York Times reported Wednesday, while a family making $1 million would pay $9,000 more.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday about half of the cost would be covered by reducing spending on government health programs, mainly Medicare.
While Obama and Democratic leaders enthusiastically embraced the plan, critics said it would cost jobs, hurt small business, reduce the quality of healthcare and unfairly tax affluent Americans.
"What we really have here is a bill that, without any question, will kill jobs, will limit access to healthcare, will raise taxes and will lead to a government takeover of healthcare," ABC News quoted Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as saying.