Language offered by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) added some flexibility to this verification process by allowing individuals to provide documents such as a tax return or pay stub to qualify for the subsidy. Ranking Republican Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) saw this as a means for inviting more fraud into the system, but the amendment was accepted.
The panel also accepted language into the HELP bill that would require public plans to meet performance measures such as low premium costs and low cost-sharing requirements in order to receive incentives under the bill.
Rejected was an amendment by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that would have imposed limits on pain and suffering damages to physicians in rural and economically underserved areas. “Defensive medicine is eating us alive … I'd like to see us get rid of these frivolous cases” that are driving up malpractice costs, Hatch said. The GOP was also unsuccessful in persuading the majority to reject further expansions to the Medicaid program and eliminate the bill's employer mandate provisions.
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