Baucus: Bill Will Change To Make Premiums More Affordable
"Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said Monday he intends to ease what he called the financial burden his health bill would impose on middle-income families, making adjustments financed in part by paring back the amount of deficit reduction in the legislation," The Wall Street Journal reports. "In an interview, the Montana Democrat said some $28 billion of the funds now dedicated to deficit reduction could be diverted into proposals that would make the bill more affordable to working-class Americans." One such proposal would scale back the 35 percent excise tax on high-premium health plans and a second with increase subsidies to help middle-income families afford health insurance.
"Mr. Baucus said the changes would help "garner broader support in the committee." He also "said he would look at raising additional revenue to help address concerns about affordability, beyond the $348.8 billion in new taxes and fees already in the bill. Senate Finance Committee aides suggested the additional revenue is likely to come from strengthening those taxes and fees" (Hitt, 9/21).
The Associated Press: "Senate aides say that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is changing his health care bill to make insurance premiums more affordable after fellow Democrats raised concerns. The Montana Democrat is making the modifications ahead of a committee meeting set to begin Tuesday to amend and vote on the bill" (Werner, 9/21).