Last week, members of the Senate Finance Committee submitted 564 amendments to the health systems reform bill submitted by Chairman Max Baucus. Republican amendments favor a less costly bill with fewer taxes, changes to existing medical malpractice laws, reduced regulation on flexible savings accounts and the elimination of unfunded mandates on states as a result of the proposed expansion of Medicaid. GOP lawmakers also oppose the private, not-for-profit network of health insurance cooperatives that is included in the draft and are against the inclusion of a public plan within any reform legislation.
Some Democrats have proposed changes that would strengthen the provision that would create the co-ops, while others want it replaced with a public plan. Democrats also want to raise the amount of tax credits that would be offered to low- and moderate-income people to buy coverage, and they want to amend the proposed 35% excise tax on the highest-priced insurance plans.
The full Committee will address each of the proposed amendments during its mark-up session this week. Read the bill on the Wall Street Journal Web site.