Health law's tax-filing requirement survives

Associated Press
Tuesday, November 30, 2010; A04

The Senate on Monday refused to reduce paperwork required of businesses as part of President Obama's new health-care law.

The provision is opposed by lawmakers of both parties, but senators could not agree on how, or whether, to make up the $19 billion lost over the next decade by a repeal.

The provision requires nearly 40 million U.S. businesses to start filing tax forms in 2012 for every vendor that sells them more than $600 in goods. But even Democrats who supported the law now acknowledge that the filing requirement would be a paperwork nightmare for businesses.

Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) introduced measures to repeal the requirement, but each failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority.

Meanwhile, the House agreed to a one-month delay in Medicare payment cuts to doctors.

The voice vote postponed a 23 percent cut in doctors' pay, scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, until Jan. 1. The Senate agreed earlier this month to this latest in a series of short-term fixes.

Lawmakers have struggled to come up with a long-term solution to the payments issue, the result of a 1990s law that attempted, with little success, to keep Medicare spending in line.

It is estimated that repealing the current system of paying doctors would cost $300 billion over 10 years, and have to be paid through spending cuts or added to the deficit.

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