Democrats and Republicans alike are taking issue with affordability, funding and the physician pay fix found in a health reform package released Wednesday by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said they are readying a host of amendments due by week's end.
The Baucus bill requires all individuals to carry some level of health insurance and offers federal subsidies to help offset the cost to individuals and families making up to 300% of the federal poverty level (or $66,150 for a family of four). The tax credit is based on the percentage of income the cost of premiums represent, rising from 3% for those at 100% of the federal poverty level (or $22,050 for a family of four) to 13% of those at 300%.
Lawmakers of all stripes, however, worry that those credits won't go far enough to defray the cost for the average American.
Other issues center on an excise tax on insurance plans that offer high-end plans valued at $8,000 for an individual and $21,000 for families. Lawmakers said they are concerned that the insurance companies would pass on the costs to middle-class workers.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who proposed the tax on so-called “Cadillac plans,” said he would offer an amendment to tweak the values to $9,000 for an individual and $24,000 for families.
“What happens is that people with a lower level of income get dragged into potentially being affected in their current coverage,” Kerry told reporters. “And I don't want that to happen.”