A Big Problem With Baucuscare

If you want to see a really serious problem with Max Baucus’ health care plan, look at this Center for Budget and Policy Priorities report on his effort to punish free riding employers. He’s tried to come up with something that’s more business friendly than the standard “employer mandate” approach that the other health bills use, but what he’s come up with involves some nasty unintended consequences:

While an employer responsibility requirement is an essential component of health care reform, a proposal included in the new health reform package that Senator Max Baucus unveiled this weekend would have serious consequences, particularly for low-income and minority workers and women.

Basically the way Baucus has done this, hiring certain classes of workers—typically people from the most vulnerable social classes—would be costlier than hiring other kinds of workers. This is no good. It’s pretty distant from the core health reform issues we’ve been debating, but congress really needs to change this before we have a real vote on the Senate floor.