It would extend benefits to millions of people who are uninsured by broadly expanding Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor, and by offering subsidies to individuals and families with modest incomes to help them buy insurance.Did the committee see this item in yesterday's USA Today?
The proposal would also set limits on out-of-pocket health care expenses. It would cap at 13 percent of household income — not including cost-sharing such as co-payments and deductibles — the cost of insurance premiums for middle-class Americans who just miss qualifying for the new government subsidies.
Starting in 2013, it would require nearly all Americans to obtain coverage or face a penalty of up to $3,800 a year for families.
An average family health insurance policy now costs more than some compact cars, and four in 10 companies will likely pass more of that expense on to workers, according to a closely watched survey of businesses released Tuesday.Or this information from Kaiser?
The average cost of a family policy offered by employers was $13,375 this year, up 5% from 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found. By comparison, wages rose 3% over that period, the study said.
Let's do some very simple arithmetic. Start with a fairly conservative assumption: If we assume that premium increases over the next ten years will average what they did over the last five (about 6.1% per year), the average premium for a family policy in 2019 will be $24,180. That's a big number. On the other hand, if we assume increases revert to the average of the last ten years—an average annual increase of about 8.7% and a very plausible scenario—premiums in 2019 will average a whopping $30,803, a very scary number.If my employer doesn't provide health insurance, I'd be better off paying the $3,800 penalty. No wonder Democrats and Republicans have raised all kinds of objections. In fact, Democrat Jay Rockefeller expressed very strong opposition to various features of the bill, including affordability, and he was supported by Yale Professor Jacob Hacker.
Have To Ensure That Coverage Is Affordable: Hacker pointed out a public option would save approximately $150 billion over 10 years and allow the government to invest those savings into better and stronger subsidies.Hacker is the person widely credited with coming up with the idea for a public option. Did I mention Baucus's plan doesn't include one?
The Baucus plan calls for the creation of private, nonprofit health insurance cooperatives to compete with private insurers, a compromise aimed at bridging the gap between Democrats who want a government-run insurance plan and Republicans who adamantly oppose that idea.No trigger. No public option. Unrealistic subsidies. This isn't reform. It's a handout to the insurance industry. That's not to say the public option is dead in the water.
As insurers, the cooperatives could offer their coverage plans on the exchanges.
And in a nod to the stiff Republican opposition, the proposal does not include a trigger calling for the creation of a public plan if the legislation fails to make affordable health insurance widely available, a compromise step that Mr. Obama has indicated he could accept.
Instead, Mr. Baucus seems to have left the public option to the alternate health care legislation developing in the House, where more liberal Democrats strongly support the idea and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has called it crucial to getting a bill adopted in her chamber.We really need Pelosi to deliver on the public option. The bottom line on affordability according to Ezra Klein is that the premium subsidies aren't where they need to be, but are pretty good, particularly for folks making up to 300 percent of the poverty line. However, ...
The question is what happens when you get sick. And the answer is pretty much that people making more than 200 percent of the poverty line will be less ruined than they'd be under current law, but still facing tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses a year.So after months of wrangling and innumerable compromises meant to attract Republican
Medical bankruptcy, in other words, isn't going away. One fairly dramatic way to think about this is that health-care costs are so high in this country that we can talk about spending almost $900 billion helping low-income Americans afford coverage and still be left with a situation where coverage is unaffordable and illness rips through a family's savings.