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Baucus, Grassley to Lay Out Options to Pay for Health Care Reform

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Monday unveiled several options for how to pay for health care reform including reductions in spending and revising health tax subsidies.

Baucus and Grassley will hold a committee meeting on Wednesday to “walk through” the financing policy options, according to a press release. According to their statement, the three options on the table include “savings achieved from within the health care system from reductions in current levels of spending; re-evaluating current health tax subsidies; and changing non-health tax provisions.”

How to cover the cost of a health care overhaul is one of the key areas of disagreement among Members. However, the issue of whether the package should include a government-run insurance option remains the biggest lightning rod in the ongoing Senate negotiations.

“Health care reform must preserve the things Americans like about our health care system,” Baucus said in a statement. “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.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has charged Baucus with writing the health care reform bill, with a goal of delivering it to President Barack Obama’s desk by year’s end. Senate Democrats are prepared to go it alone on the issue, but would prefer to win GOP support for the package, which is scheduled to be marked up in June and possibly voted on before the August recess.

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