The finance panel’s legislation is expected to include incentives for employers to provide health insurance for their workers, rather than a more punitive coverage mandate. The committee is also likely to endorse narrowly targeted tax increases, rejecting a controversial tax surcharge on wealthy households that the House adopted and limits on deductions for upper-income taxpayers that Obama is seeking.
GOP negotiators rejected from the outset the kind of government-run insurance plan that Obama and most Democrats are pushing for in an attempt to inject the health-insurance market with pricing competition. Instead, the committee would create coverage cooperatives modeled after rural electricity providers.
As House negotiators continued to work late Tuesday evening on breaking an impasse on their version of the bill, the bipartisan Finance Committee negotiators emerged from another meeting insisting that no final decisions had been made about the contents of the legislation. But as details trickled out, none of the components appeared ready-made for GOP opposition. Negotiators are scrubbing every provision for unintended consequences that could negatively affect small businesses or middle-class families, both of which Republicans say could be harmed by the other bills moving through Congress…
“I think it might resonate, frankly, with our colleagues,” Snowe said of the emerging compromise measure. “We want the basis for a bipartisan agreement, and I think that could be the launching pad for that resolution.”