WASHINGTON — The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee today approved a controversial bill that would require employers to provide health coverage to more than 20 million uninsured people.
The 10-6 vote came after nearly two hours of discussion ranging from denunciations of the insurance industry to a spirited debate over socialism and senators' own health coverage. The so-called "minimum health" bill sponsored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) would require employers to offer a minimum package that includes hospital care, doctor care, diagnostic and screening tests, prenatal and well-baby care and limited mental health treatment. The policies would cap out-of-pocket catastrophic costs at $3,000.