Senate GOP adds penalty for lapsed insurance

The US Capitol is seen in Washington, Wednesday, April 6, 2011, with the House of Representatives in the foreground, as Congress debates the budget. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans have issued a revised version of their health care bill. The changes include a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse.

Under the new package, people who lacked coverage for at least 63 days in the past year and then buy a policy would face a six-month delay before it takes effect.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his initial measure last week. It had no penalty for people who let their coverage expire.

The waiting period is designed to prompt healthy people who might not otherwise buy insurance to do so. That helps insurance companies pay for sicker customers who are more expensive to cover.

McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate by the end of this week, but some Republicans are rebelling.

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