Prognosis for Reform Improves
By Ben Pershing
The Senate Finance Committee begins its slog through the chairman's health-care bill Tuesday, as the effort to pass reform looks healthier but still in need of intensive care.
Max Baucus spent the final hours beforehand revising the bill to make it easier for people to afford the insurance that they would now be mandated to buy. Baucus' revisions "have left insurance executives anxious while continuing to trouble liberal groups that want even more federal assistance for some individuals," writes CongressDaily. Baucus sought simultaneously to appeal to concerned liberals and wary Republicans. "All of his changes, though, would add billions to the cost of a bill whose chief accomplishment was its relative austerity," the Washington Post writes. And senators are seeking even more alterations to the bill that would further reduce taxes and boost subsidies, with the potential result being a measure that is much more generous to consumers but does not meet Obama's requirement that it be deficit-neutral. Politico notes that among the 564 amendments are politically expedient GOP proposals to ban ACORN from getting federal funding from the health bill and prevent the measure from being administered by a "czar" unconfirmed by the Senate.
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