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Senator Baucus rolls out first adjustments to health care reform bill

Posted On Thu, September 24, 2009

One week after introducing his $856 billion plan to reform the American healthcare system, Senator Max Baucus has rolled out his first set of adjustments to the bill on Wednesday in an attempt to gain more support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Among the more talked about changes made by the Democratic Senator from Montana is the removal of a proposed taxation on medical products that cost $100 or less that would include condoms, contact lenses, and other everyday medical appliances, according to the Associated Press.

Before its removal, the tax had earned itself the cheeky nickname of the "Q-tip tax" from Republicans who opposed it.

While that tax was excised, one will still remain on larger and more expensive medical goods such as power wheelchairs and hearing aids, the AP added.

Numerous changes were also put in place by Baucus to appease Democrats he is looking to court for support, including the easing of financial burdens for low-income families up to four times the federal poverty level, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the original plan families making between 133 percent and 400 percent would have paid between 3 percent and 13 percent of their income to get on the health insurance plan.

The maximum penalty for not complying with the mandate to get on the health insurance plan was also lowered from $3,800 per family to $1,900 per family, according to the Times.

"This is a solid starting point, but we are far from the finish line," said Senator Olympia J. Snow, a Republican from Maine, said of Baucus' changes.
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