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AHIP Pans Plan Tax

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America’s Health Insurance Plans is expressing disappointment at the possibility that Sen. Max Baucus may try to impose a new tax on health carriers.

Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has been working with other Democrats and Republicans on the committee to develop a health reform proposal with some appeal for Republicans.

A draft outline of his proposal obtained Tuesday by National Underwriter suggests that Baucus may call for funding part of the health reform effort by imposing a new tax on health insurers that sell unusually expensive “Cadillac plans.”

Other lawmakers have suggested imposing a new tax on employers that sponsor Cadillac plans.

AHIP disagrees with the idea of trying to pay for health programs by imposing taxes on health insurers or health insurance purchasers, group spokesman Robert Zirkelbach says.

“New taxes on health insurance will only make it harder for families and small businesses to afford coverage,” Zirkelbach says. “The American people want reform that eases the burden of rising medical costs and puts our health care system on a sustainable and fiscally responsible path – not new taxes on health insurance.”