September 22,2009

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Baucus Modifies Chairman's Mark To Improve Health Care Affordability, Maintain Deficit Reductions

Finance Chairman releases modification to Chairman’s Mark that would increase tax credits, lower penalties for low and middle income families

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today released his modification to the Chairman’s Mark of the America’s Healthy Future Act, landmark health care reform legislation to lower costs and provide quality, affordable health care coverage. The modifications focus largely on making care more affordable for low and middle income Americans by increasing the Health Care Affordability Tax Credit, lowering the penalties for people who fail to meet the individual requirement to have health insurance and increasing the High Cost Insurance Excise Tax threshold for people whose basic health care is more expensive. Baucus called the modification the first step in an important process that will continue to improve the bill.

“My modification to the Chairman’s Mark focuses on making health care more affordable for middle class families, while ensuring the legislation reduces the deficit and effectively slows the growth of skyrocketing health care costs,” Baucus said. “This modification incorporates important ideas from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Crafting a bill that addresses all of the concerns of our broken health care system is no easy task, and I’m confident that, working together, we are even closer to that goal today. The legislative process is an important one and I look forward to improving this bill as it advances in the coming days and weeks.”

Baucus introduced his Chairman’s Mark of the America’s Healthy Future Act on September 16. The legislation is designed to make it easier for families and small businesses to buy health care coverage, ensure Americans can choose to keep the health care coverage they have if they like it and slow the growth of health care costs over time. It will bar insurance companies from discriminating against people based on health status, denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or imposing annual caps or lifetime limits on coverage. The bill will improve the way the health care system delivers care by improving efficiency, quality and coordination.

The Finance Committee will begin considering the modification of the Chairman’s Mark today. The full text and summary of the original Chairman’s Mark to the America’s Healthy Future Act as well as of the full text of the modification to the Chairman’s Mark is available on the Finance Committee website at A summary of the major modifications to the Chairman’s Mark can be found in the printer-friendly version of this release.