May 19,2009

Baucus, Grassley Release Policy Options for Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform

Washington, DC –  Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today released policy options for financing reform of America's health care system. The options released today are the third and final round of policy options for discussion before the Finance Committee marks up legislation in June. The options for financing health reform follow the release of policy options for reducing costs in the health care delivery system and for expanding quality, affordable health care coverage to all Americans. Three areas of potential funding sources explored in the financing options are: savings achieved from within the health care system from reductions in current levels of spending; reevaluating current health tax subsidies; and changing non-health tax provisions.    Senators Baucus and Grassley will hold a meeting of Finance Committee members to "walk through" the financing policy options on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.

“Health care reform must preserve the things Americans like about our health care system,” said Baucus. “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. Reforming the system will likely require an upfront investment, but I’m confident it will pay dividends in the future for our health, our economic competitiveness, and our federal budget. The bottom line is that we can’t afford not to act.    Without health care reform, health care spending will reach 4.4 trillion by 2018. These policies lay out a wide variety of options for making that investment, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to determine the best way forward.”

“Everybody agrees we spend too much money on health care, especially to have 46 million uninsured people,” Grassley said. “The policy options are meant to bring current spending under control and also help cover the uninsured and make coverage more secure for the people who already have it.”

The policy options focus on increasing payment accuracy and reducing disparities in payment and spending amounts among different geographic regions across the country. Additionally, tax provisions are included that promote wellness and healthy lifestyle choices, as well as proposals President Obama included in his budget.

The complete text of the policy options on financing comprehensive health care reform can be found at the Finance Committee website. Public comments should be directed to Health_Reform@finance- The deadline for public comments on the financing policy options is May 26, 2009.