May 19, 2009
The Senate Finance Committee provided an early glimpse of ways Congress might pay for the overhaul of health care President Barack Obama wants, outlining a range of options that included new taxes on employer-provided health insurance and levies on sugar-sweetened drinks.
[efoods]In a document released yesterday, committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the panel’s top Republican, said taxing health benefits would address so-called “Cadillac plans” they said promote overuse of health-care services and boost the cost of care. The two senators also proposed scouring Medicare and other aspects of the U.S. health-care system for cost savings.
“Health-care reform must preserve the things Americans like about our health-care system,” Baucus said in a statement. “But it must also begin to slow the rapid increases in health- care costs that take up more and more of the budget for American families and businesses.”
The committee will meet behind closed doors May 20 to discuss the options, with a goal of getting a health-care bill to the Senate floor in July. Obama’s budget request for the 2010 fiscal year sets aside $634 billion over 10 years to pay for health-care changes.