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by Pearl Hahn

Senate Finance Chairman, Max Baucus (D-Mont), introduced his health care bill, America’s Healthy Future Act, this week. The bill has many similarities with H.R. 3200 (America’s Affordable Health Choices Act), right down to its misleading name and hefty price tag.

At a cost of $500 billion over the next ten years, the bill is not as much of a waste of money as H.R. 3200, although its effects would be just as devastating. Predictably, the Baucus Bill would mandate Americans to purchase insurance, seeing as this worked so well in Massachusetts.

But wait! Congress’ joint committee on taxation claims the plan would actually bring in revenue, raising $215 billion over ten years by taxing private health insurance plans. A tried-and-true formula, tax the private sector to pay for a less efficient, more costly public service. Then look the other way as private plans are unable to bear the tax and sink under the cost, forcing more citizens under the “public option”.

Should you choose not to purchase health insurance, whether you’re too poor or happen to think you know how to take care of your body better than the government does, you could be subject to a penalty of up to $950. Non-complying employees will be subject to a $400 per employee penalty as well. We’re still waiting for Baucus to explain how this will alleviate the 16 percent unemployment rate. That’s because it won’t- as we’ve seen in Hawaii, the employer mandate has actually caused the unemployed and uninsured rates to increase.

The Baucus bill is a bomb, and there are few places to hide to escape the fallout.

Pearl can be reached at pearl@grassrootinstitute.org