Sen Edward Kennedy (D-Mass), chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has released the Affordable Health Choices Act, legislation that aims to reduce health care costs; protect peoples’ choices of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans; and guarantee quality and affordable health care for all Americans, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va.

APTA says the five elements of the bill include:

    * Choice: People who like their current coverage can keep it. Those without insurance will have affordable options to choose from. 
    * Cost Reduction: Reduced spending will be achieved through stronger prevention, better quality of care and use of information technology, and programs that target fraud and abuse and reduce unnecessary procedures.
    * Prevention: The bill will make preventive information widely available in medical settings, schools, and communities. It will also promote early screening for heart disease, cancer, and depression, and provide more information on healthy nutrition and the dangers of smoking.
    * Health System Modernization: Revamping the system would include efforts to ensure that America has a 21st-century workforce for a modern and responsive health care system, investments in training the health professionals, and improvements in care coordination.
    * Long-Term Care and Services: Programs will focus on keeping older Americans and people with disabilities in their homes and functioning independently. 

APTA is reviewing the bill for provisions related to physical therapy, including workforce issues.     

House Democrats have released an outline of their proposal that would require all Americans to have insurance, with waivers available in hardship cases, and that employers provide coverage or pay a penalty, says an article by the Associated Press. The House plan would also give people the option of buying insurance provided by the federal government. Similar to the Senate measure, the bill emphasizes preventive care.

[Source: APTA]