Baucus changes HC bill: penalty for no coverage reduced by 50%Submitted by SteveMT on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 23:39
This is ridiculous, and although the entire bill is trash the senator from Montana will change anything to get this approved. Well almost anything. There is still a huge penalty for not buying insurance.
Baucus changes health bill over Dem concerns
10-year, $856 billion package being revised to keep party on board
Mon., Sept . 21, 2009 - 6:31 p.m. MT
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee was revising his sweeping health care bill Monday to address serious concerns from fellow Democrats and a key Republican about insurance costs, part of his ongoing struggle to deliver on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.
The changes — which include possibly halving a penalty for people who don't comply with a new requirement to purchase insurance — came a day ahead of a committee session beginning Tuesday to amend and vote on the bill, which Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., hopes his panel will approve by the end of the week.
"We've come a long, long way to satisfying the affordability concerns," Baucus said Monday evening after meeting with committee Democrats.
Revisions in the works
Senators offered a raft of amendments on both those issues, and Baucus was incorporating some of the approaches in revised legislation he'll unveil at Tuesday's committee meeting. Details weren't final, but Baucus said he was looking at lowering a $3,800 penalty that his bill would levy on households that don't comply with a new "individual mandate" to purchase insurance.
Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, a key Finance Democrat, said senators were discussing cutting that penalty in half, to $1,900. The $950 penalty for individuals who don't buy coverage, however, would not be changed.
Also under discussion, according to Conrad, was lowering the maximum amount of income people could pay in premiums before becoming eligible for subsidies. It's now 13 percent. Senators were also looking at adjusting the new insurance excise tax — now set to hit plans valued at $21,000 for a family and $8,000 for an individual — so that it's limited to even more expensive plans over time, Conrad said.
The changes could add to the cost of the $856 billion bill, but since the bill would raise about $50 billion more than it spends over 10 years, there is some wiggle room.
A total of 564 amendments were filed, though the number taken up this week will likely be much lower.