Posted at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2009
by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Health care
For the first time in my life, I think, I watched C-SPAN on a Saturday night. I watched the vote on the massive health care insurance overhaul.
I don't know what to make of it and I'm still unsure if the final product (the Senate will take a crack at it next) will match up with what Americans say they need.
The House bill has a lot of stuff. According to the Congressional Budget Office:
Among other things, the legislation would establish a mandate for most legal residents of the United States to obtain health insurance; set up insurance "exchanges" through which certain individuals and families could receive federal subsidies to substantially reduce the cost of purchasing that coverage; establish a public plan that would be administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; significantly expand eligibility for Medicaid; substantially reduce the growth of Medicare's payment rates for most services (relative to the growth rates projected under current law); impose an income tax surcharge on high-income individuals; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs.
CBO says it will be be a deficit reducer over the long run.
But I'm perplexed by a CBO letter that shows some really high costs for subsidized health care under the House bill.
Although premiums under H.R. 3962 would vary by geographic area to reflect differences in average spending for health care and would also vary by age... the approximate national average for that lower-cost reference plan--about $5,300 for single policies and about $15,000 for family policies in 2016. (emphasis mine)
That's a lot of money for an affordable plan.
11/12 UPDATE: While I quoted the CBO correctly I didn't realize the bill also included subsidies to bring down the costs. Click here for a deeper look at the data.
Democrats in their public statements have been noting, that's a lot lower than it would be with no action. . They've recently been using one key statistic: "One recent projection estimated that health insurance premiums in 2016 will be over $8,000 for individuals and over $24,000 for families if health reform is not enacted.
That $24,000 figure, however, doesn't come from the CBO. It comes from a think tank called the New America Foundation.
The crucial question is whether legislation will make health coverage affordable for people who can't afford it now. Does the House bill really do that?
Let's compare documents. Post below with links to documents that convince you the House health care reform legislation is right on target or completely off base. You can also contact me directly with some thoughts.
MPR and the investigative reporting outlet ProPublica queried thousands of Americans earlier this year to find out where the health care system is succeeding and failing. More than 500 people responded.
Check out the responses mapped below, then add your own story.