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Baucus Health Care Bill Has Loosest Employer Mandate

The new health care reform proposal from the Senate Finance Committee places the lowest burden on employers of the three major bills out there now. From the Journal:

The House version of the health legislation would require some employers to pay as much as 8% of payroll as a fine if they don’t offer coverage to workers. Under the Senate Finance measure, employers who decline to provide coverage would face a smaller penalty, and in narrower circumstances.

The Senate Finance legislation — set to be unveiled on Wednesday — says employers with more than 50 full-time workers would pay a $400 fee for each employee if they don’t offer health insurance. The fee would be triggered if any employees apply for federal tax credits to buy coverage.

The bill also drops plans for a public option, a major political sticking point, although not one that small business owners seem to fall clearly on one side or the other.

For a summary of the two other proposals, see this explainer. Since that was published in July, the House bill has been revised so that businesses with less than $500,000 are exempt from any “play-or-pay” mandate. (The previous level was $250,000.)

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