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Read the Baucus Health Care Bill

September 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] posted his much-anticipated health care bill for download in a bulky, unmanageable 223-page .pdf file. Basically, it was, the most uninviting and least accessible release possible for a bill that was about become the heart of Congress’ health care reform effort. As David wrote on this blog last week, it seemed like a release designed to ensure that the only people reading the bill would be health care lobbyists and D.C. insiders. It seems designed to keep the general public out.

Today, we’re implementing tons of improvements to the Baucus bill page that we posted last week, and it’s now just as readable and portable as any other bill in Congress we have on the site. But it’s taken us a full week to get this far. If Congress would release all legislation in a single, standardized manner, government transparency sites like OpenCongress and GovTrack could get bills online quickly for public review and feedback before Congress begins to act. The way the Baucus bill was handled, we’re getting it online in a usable format after the committee has already begun working on it. For an example of what the public can do with a bill released in a timely, standardized manner, see the thousand of comments the public has submitted, section-by-section, to the House health care bill.

Read the Baucus bill, a.k.a. the “America’s Health Future Act of 2009”>>

It’s currently in mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee. You can watch a live webcast of it here.

Help us build public knowledge about this important bill moving through Congress by sharing the the link with your social network friends and blog readers. This bill could very well form the basis for the health care legislation that eventually becomes law, so it’s crucial that we start learning what’s in it and how it works.

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Comments

Anonymous 09/24/2009 8:37pm

The reality is that the government is run by people who were financed by drug companies, insurance companies, banks, unions, lawyers, etc. etc. etc. If you think anything that passes through this Congress and signed by this president will be any different than anything passed through the last Congress and signed by the last president, well, all I can say is “say goodnight, Gracie”.

JRShown 09/23/2009 5:40pm

Can someone explain this line from an AP report to me: “The Democrats noted that unlike other committees, the Finance Committee works off conceptual language that describes policies — instead of legislative language that ultimately becomes law,”

The Finance Committee of the U.S. Senate doesn’t write law?

Here’s the link: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlMpJGn28kqCcgU-aGcYE_ZHW-ywD9AT460O0

KyRidgerunner 09/23/2009 4:08pm

Is my choice to seek health care and it should be my choice to buy health insurance. By making it mandatory you take away the right of millions of free people to choose any financial life-style that suits them. It is already mandated that I pay Medicare and SSI out of any income I earn and now it will be mandated I pay for additional medical insurance. Now I’ll be a criminal because I want to live MY life as I see fit.

Anonymous 09/23/2009 2:48pm

We need reform. We cannot go on like this. Too many people do not have insurance and many lives are being destroyed because of medical expense triggered bankruptcies.

Anonymous 09/23/2009 1:43pm

“To ensure that coordination for dual eligibles occurs, the Chairman‘s Mark would establish a new office within CMS, the Office of Coordination for Dual Eligible Beneficiaries (OCDEB). " Not another office within an office to enhance the bureaucratic nightmare.

Anonymous 09/23/2009 1:33pm

“For each full time employee (defined as working 30 hours or more each week) enrolled in a state exchange and receiving a tax credit, the employer would be required to pay a flat dollar amount set by the Secretary of HHS and published in a schedule each year. The flat dollar amount would be equal to the average tax credit in the state exchanges. These payments would not be linked to the individual, but would be contributed to a general fund. The assessment is capped for all employers at an amount equal to $400 multiplied by the total number of employees at the firm (regardless of how many are receiving the state exchange credit).” Where is this $6 Billion in loans and grants going to come from?

Anonymous 09/23/2009 1:28pm

“For each full time employee (defined as working 30 hours or more each week) enrolled in a state exchange and receiving a tax credit, the employer would be required to pay a flat dollar amount set by the Secretary of HHS and published in a schedule each year. The flat dollar amount would be equal to the average tax credit in the state exchanges. These payments would not be linked to the individual, but would be contributed to a general fund. The assessment is capped for all employers at an amount equal to $400 multiplied by the total number of employees at the firm (regardless of how many are receiving the state exchange credit).” This is pure highway robbery.

Anonymous 09/23/2009 1:20pm

“Excise Tax. The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax”

President Obama said that this was NOT A TAX. It looks like taxation without representation.

Anonymous 09/23/2009 12:59pm

Health Care Affordability Tax Credits “Chairman‘s Mark requires verification of the following personal data. Name, social security number, and date of birth will be verified with Social Security Administration (SSA) data. For individuals claiming to be U.S. citizens, if the claim of citizenship is consistent with SSA data then the claim will be considered substantiated. For individuals who do not claim to be U.S. citizens but claim to be lawfully present in the United States, if the claim of lawful presence is consistent with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data then the claim will be considered substantiated.” These words are not strong enough! It is at this point that the requirement for E-Verify or Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) needs to be added.

redog101 09/23/2009 12:35pm

Doesn’t any one in the Obama administration have just one ounce of common sense? Tey are hell bent on giving the people socialist health care and raising our taxes, directly or indirectly. We need health care, but slow and measured, i.e. one step at a time. Take Tort reform first and when you get that under control move to fixing the regulations that lets insurances do what they do.Of course Obama says that, Tort reform – well that might be an area to look into. We have experience in many states that did Tort reform and it saved them big money. You just don;t want to out the people before you pockets! Allow us access to all insurances companies, not restricted by state line. Don’t invent more ways to put us further in debt. Much of the high cost was caused by Congress in the first place.

Anonymous 09/23/2009 11:48am

The Annual Fee on Clinical Laboratories beginning in 2010. The Chairman’s Mark (CM) states that this fee would not be a deductible expense for Federal Income Taxes. From a business standpoint, this is wrong. When you are in business, you must monitor and control expenses. There is no way for the business to control this cost. It is a undetermined fee. How can you run a business if you have no control of the costs and then they are not tax deductible. At this rate all but the biggest labs will go out of business.

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