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Baucus Plan Lands with a Thud

September 17, 2009

It didn’t take long for the tomatoes to start flying after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., presented his long-awaited health care reform plan.

Baucus had trouble convincing many of the other members of his committee to go along with the plan, much less the Republican members of the so-called Gang of Six who had been negotiating over the plan all these many months. So instead of being presented as a bill from the committee, it was issued as a “Chairman’s Mark,” which sounds a little like a brand of whiskey.

The problems with the plan are many, including some very confusing tax provisions that could have corporate payroll and benefits departments twisting themselves into pretzels trying to comply, or face harsh penalties. The alliantgroup’s Dean Zerbe, a former tax counsel with the Senate Finance Committee, did a good job explaining many of the niceties, and not-so-niceties, of Chairman Baucus’s proposed legislation on

The bill may be the one that stands the best chance of passing the Senate, but assuming that a bill passes, let’s hope that when it’s reconciled in conference with the other versions of the health reform bills that have been passed by other Senate and House committees, the provisions make a lot more sense in the end.

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