U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Bruce Josten
“The Baucus mark takes a thoughtfully crafted and reasoned approach to preserving employer participation in the financing of health insurance.
The Chamber supports efforts to encourage employers to offer health insurance, but strongly opposes efforts which would mandate employers to provide such coverage or pay a fine.
Employers must be provided the freedom and flexibility they currently possess under ERISA or workers will lose the coverage they have.”
(Bruce Josten is an expert, and I’m not, but this quote makes absolutely no sense to me! He’s saying BaucusCare doesn’t have an employer mandate tax, but clearly it does.)
See the following:
The National Retail Federation (NRF)
“We strongly favor health care reform … ,” NRF Vice President and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel Neil Trautwein said.
“The ‘free-rider’ mandate under consideration by the Finance Committee may be the least onerous of the mandate proposals currently under consideration in Congress, but it would still impose significant additional costs on employers.”
(The free-rider mandate is what is in the Baucus bill. “the least onerous of the mandate proposals” — I just cannot take Mr. Trautwein’s word on this. Least onerous on employers maybe. The CBO has stated this free-rider mandate will not lead to a lot of employees getting dropped. Americans for Tax Reform has stated it will. Who is right?)
I suspect someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
Baucus Plan Principles
- Creation of a Health Insurance Exchange. Insurers participating in the exchange could would be precluded from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions.
- Expand Medicaid to all individuals below 133% of the federal poverty line.
- Expand SCHIP to cover all children in household below 250% of the federal poverty line in 2013.
- Reduce Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ so that enrollees in the donut hole range only pay 50% of drug costs rather than 100%.
- Standardize benefits into 4 categories: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
- Excise Tax: Levy a non‐deductible excise tax of 35% on insurance companies and plan administrators for any health insurance plan that is above the threshold of $8,000 for singles and $21,000 for family plans.
- Individual Mandate with tax subsidies. Those with incomes between 133% and 300% of the FPL would be eligible for these subsidies. Those who don’t get health insurance will be subject to a fine.
- Employers who don’t provide health insurance must contribute to a fund to cover government insurance/subsidies for these individuals. Small employers with less than 50 employees are exempted from this requirement.
- Small business subsidy. Businesses with the fewest workers and the lowest wages would be offered a new tax credit to purchase health insurance for their employees. The subsidy is up to 35% of the business’s contribution.
- $6 billion for co-ops. This money would be used to fund the start-up costs and capital requirements for these co-ops.
- Preventive Services: Eliminate Medicare copayment for preventive care. Provide financial incentives to encourage Medicaid to cover preventive care services without copayments.
- Do not cut Medicare physician payment according to the SGR. Instead, increase Medicare physician compensation.
- Malpractice reform. Allow states to develop alternatives to the current tort litigation system.
Practically all the articles written about the Baucus free-rider mandate address how the mandate will affect employers who do not provide coverage. How will free-rider affect employers who do provide coverage?
(I tried, I could not find ONE YouTube on the Baucus free-rider mandate.)
Video from the Finance Committee meeting on the health care reform bill on Sept. 22.
Senator Enzi is in a Finance Committee meeting working on making changes to the Finance Committee health care bill.
He is ready to offer about 20 amendments to improve the bill.