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19 October 2009

Some States and Unions Get Breaks Under Baucus Conceptual Plan

Chairman Max Baucus's Mark of the so-called Baucus "conceptual plan" is now available here.  Nice that the People can now read it after the vote in the Senate Finance Committee has already taken place.

Kimberley A. Strassel found some interesting special favors for certain mostly Democrat states in the "bill."  She reported on this in The Wall Street Journal on 15 October 2009.  Among her findings,
  • The states will have to cover an additional $37 billion in expenses, unless the state is Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, or Michigan.  All of these special states will have their additional expenses paid for them for 5 years.
  • Those insurance plans costing more than $21,000 per year will be taxed on the excess above that threshold, unless you live in one of the 17 most expensive states, many of which are most expensive because of extensive state requirements for insurance.  New York and Massachusetts are among these states and tax payments will start at $25,000 in those, mostly Democrat, states.  Charles Shumer (D-NY) pushed this one through.  The higher thresholds for taxation do end in 2016.
  • The pharmaceutical companies will be taxed, but this hits New Jersey hard since 15 of the world's 20 largest drug companies have operations in the state.  NJ Senator Menendez has worked out a $1 billion tax credit for companies engaged in pharmaceutical R&D.
  • Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Kerry (D-MA) clearly expect a large increase in insurance premiums despite the public claim to the contrary, so they required that a $5 billion reinsurance program be included to reduce the added costs to union members.
Most of the senators are still waiting to get their special state goodies inserted into the bill to somehow be  assembled on the Senate floor.  As usual, hypocrisy rules the Senate, and the House, and the Presidency.

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