by Andrew Sprung
This just in* from Jonathan Cohn - removing a major worry about the Senate HCR bill (link is my addition):
The very first provision of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Manager's Amendment would explicitly prohibit insurers from imposing either annual or lifetime limits.
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not establish(A) lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary; or (B) except as provided in paragraph (2), annual limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary.
Paragraph (2) allows for annual caps before 2014, to an extent difficult to determine on a first read: plans "May only establish a restricted annual limit on the dollar value of benefits...with respect to the scope of benefits that are essential benefits under section 1302(b)" of the bill (pg. 103ff). That section does not obviously clarify the way in which annual caps may work. But they are prohibited as of Jan. 1, 2014.
One thing about this endless sausage craft: many of the bill's potential booby traps have been flagged by a thousand watchers and pinged around the Internet pretty quick. Not everything about the process has been dispiriting.
* Updated with bill language, 4:10