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Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) talks to reporters during a series of votes in Washington December 17, 2011. The U.S. Senate voted on Saturday to extend a payroll tax cut for two months in legislation that also attempts to force President Barack Obama to appro
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Here's a big "d'oh!" moment for three GOP senators who introduced an Obamacare replacement plan that mostly would just succeeding in costing everyone a lot more. Some of those new costs come in the form of raising taxes. More precisely, it would end the tax exemption employers and employees get on their health insurance contributions, and tax them up to setting the new exemptions at 65 percent of the cost of an average plan.

That this was a tax hike somehow seemed to escape the notice of Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC) until everyone reporting on the plan pointed it out to them. So, with much less fanfare than when they released the plan, the senators have decided to rework that whole tax hike idea.

Some time after the original proposal was released Monday, a new one-page explainer on the tax provisions appeared on Coburn's website, below the link to the original proposal. And it included a huge change. The cap would now be "65 percent of the average market price for an expensive high-option plan" instead of just "an average plan's costs," as the original proposal said. The language in the original eight-page proposal had not been changed as of Thursday evening.

What that change would mean exactly in terms of employer coverage and revenue is impossible to know without specific legislative language, which isn't yet available. But it would reduce the tax impact for most Americans, compared to the original proposal, by significantly raising the threshold for when you start paying taxes on your insurance contributions.

What that means is that the funding for the bill, the funding that would help some people get tax credits to help them pay for what would be more expensive plans, isn't there any more. What started out as a pretty feeble replacement plan from the Republicans just got even more useless.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 07:58 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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