GOP Senators Offer At Least 27 Amendments To Weaken Affordability Measures In Baucus Health Bill

While marking-up the Kennedy health care bill, Republicans on the Health, Pensions, Education and Labor Committee (HELP) introduced at least seven amendments designed to lower subsidies for Americans who purchase coverage through the Exchange. Now Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are pushing the same agenda, asking Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to accept at least 27 separate amendments to reduce the Committee’s far less generous affordability measures.

Premiums under Sen. Max Baucus’ health plan would be five times as large “as under the HELP bil” yet Republicans want to finance the repeal of health industry taxes, incentives for states to cap non-economic malpractice awards and expanded Health Savings Accounts, by slashing subsidies:

Amendment/SponsorProvisionOffsetKyl Amendment #D5The amendment would strike the Medicare DSH provision, replace it with other language.The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan.Cornyn Amendment #D4Provide a positive update for physicians reimbursed under the Medicare fee schedule beyond 2011.Strike the premium tax credit for individuals between 300–400 percent of FPL under Title I, Subtitle C of the Chairman‘s Mark.Bunning Amendment #D3Deletes the provision in the Chairman‘s mark that requires the Medicare Commission‘s (or Secretary‘s) original proposal to go into effect automatically if Congress has not passed legislation based on the Commission‘s (or Secretary‘s) proposal by a certain date.Paid for by reducing the federal poverty level threshold for premium credits in the bill by the amount necessary, starting with the premium credit for individuals between 300% and 400% of poverty. Enzi Amendment #D2Provide incentives through temporary increases in federal Medicaid match rates to states that adopt caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases.Reduce the subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty. Grassley Amendment #C12This amendment would suspend any fees for two years following an announcement of an economic recession by the National Bureau of Economic Research.It would be offset by eliminating any subsidies in the Chairman‘s Mark for individuals and families between 300 and 400 percent of federal poverty level ($66,150 to 88,200 for a family of four).

According to an analysis of the Baucus bill by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, families of three earning anywhere between $54,930 per year (300% FPL) and $73,240 per year ($400% FPL) would have to spend 13% of income on health care premiums or somewhere in the range of $7,141 — $9,521 per year. (Comparatively, families in this range would spend $4,339 — $9,155 under the HELP bill).

For more analysis of the Baucus amendments, click HERE. The full list of affordability amendments is available after the jump:

Amendment/SponsorProvisionOffsetKyl Amendment #D5The amendment would strike the Medicare DSH provision, replace it with other language.The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan.Cornyn Amendment #D4Provide a positive update for physicians reimbursed under the Medicare fee schedule beyond 2011.Strike the premium tax credit for individuals between 300–400 percent of FPL under Title I, Subtitle C of the Chairman‘s Mark.Bunning Amendment #D3Deletes the provision in the Chairman‘s mark that requires the Medicare Commission‘s (or Secretary‘s) original proposal to go into effect automatically if Congress has not passed legislation based on the Commission‘s (or Secretary‘s) proposal by a certain date.Paid for by reducing the federal poverty level threshold for premium credits in the bill by the amount necessary, starting with the premium credit for individuals between 300% and 400% of poverty. Enzi Amendment #D2Provide incentives through temporary increases in federal Medicaid match rates to states that adopt caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases.Reduce the subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty. Grassley Amendment #C12This amendment would suspend any fees for two years following an announcement of an economic recession by the National Bureau of Economic Research.It would be offset by eliminating any subsidies in the Chairman‘s Mark for individuals and families between 300 and 400 percent of federal poverty level ($66,150 to 88,200 for a family of four). Bunning Amendment #C1This amendment would amend the Chairman‘s mark to eliminate the age limit for joining the ―young invincible policy. (Under this amendment, everyone would be eligible for catastrophic-only coverage.)Paid for by reducing the federal poverty level threshold for premium credits in the bill by the amount necessary, starting with the premium credit for individuals between 300% and 400% of poverty. Bunning Amendment #C2A requirement that all Members of Congress, the President and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services must purchase health insurance through the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP)If an offset is needed, the amendment is paid for by reducing the federal poverty level threshold for premium credits in the bill by the amount necessary, starting with the premium credit for individuals between 300% and 400% of poverty Bunning Amendment #C3Any taxpayer who requests an exemption on their tax return from the personal responsibility excise tax be granted an exemption.Paid for by reducing the federal poverty level threshold for premium credits in the bill by the amount necessary, starting with the premium credit for individuals between 300% and 400% of poverty. Enzi Amendment #F1Change the cap on Flexible Spending Accounts in Title VI to $3,000; index its growth to CPI; and create a cash-out provisionReduce the subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty Enzi Amendment #F2Exempts certain medical devices from the application of the new excise tax on medical devicesReduce the subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty. Enzi Amendment #F3Exempt products sold to Medicare beneficiaries and veterans from the application of the new excise tax on medical devicesReduce the subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty Kyl Amendment #C13The amendment would permit small businesses to continue to take the tax credit after the initial two-year period and allow them to purchase coverage outside of an exchange.The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #C17Increase Current Limits on HSA Contributions.The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #C18Improved opportunities to rollover funds from Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to fund Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #C19Catch-up contributions by spouses may be made to one Health Savings Account (HSA)The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #C20Expanded Definition of “Preventive” DrugsThe amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #C21Greater Flexibility Using HSA Account to Pay Expenses.The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #C22Expanded definition of “qualified medical expenses”The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan. Enzi Amendment #C6To provide additional choices to individuals who would otherwise be enrolled in Medicaid thru expansions in this bill.Reduce exchange subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty. Kyl Amendment #F1Eliminate All Industry Fees.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F2Eliminate Pharmaceutical Fee.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F3Eliminate Device Fee.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F4Eliminate Health Insurance Providers’ Fee.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F5Eliminate Clinical Lab Fee.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F6Eliminate Flexible Spending Account Cap.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F7Eliminate 35% Excise Tax on Health Coverage.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan. Kyl Amendment #F8Expand the Deduction for Catastrophic Medical Expenses.Tie tax credit to lowest cost bronze plan.