HEALTH CARE

Baucus Adjusting Bill

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) says he is altering his version of the $774 billion health-care bill to make insurance more affordable for middle- and low-income Americans, who would be required to purchase coverage. Baucus backed down over his colleagues' criticism that the bill would require people to purchase insurance who couldn't afford it, and the concession may have smoothed the way for the bill to finally pass the Finance Committee. “Affordability—that, I think, is the primary concern,” Baucus said. “We want to make sure that if Americans have to buy insurance, it’s affordable.” Two sources told CNN that Baucus plans to get the money for subsidies from the $28 billion surplus in the plan, after Democrats filed 564 amendments to his plan last Friday. In the original plan, people in poverty (defined as $22,050 yearly income for a family of four) would have been expected to pay 3 percent of their annual income on insurance premiums. Baucus said the subsidies will now "be more generous." Baucus also said he will lessen the impact of a proposed tax on high-end insurance policies by raising the limits of what would be taxed, though he did not elaborate.