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Could “reform” possibly look worse than what we’ve got?

I don’t know how anyone could consider this reform (h/t Alegra) –

EXCLUSIVE: The Finance Committee’s Health Reform Outline
A Senate source just passed me the latest outline of the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform proposal. This is the post-CBO revision. Apparently, after the committee staff received the scores, they dug deep and quickly developed this proposal to circulate among members and then send back to CBO. It was presented earlier today at a closed-door meeting.

(shaking my head) It’s actually unbelievable…. You’ve got to read it yourself: Health Care Reform Draft Proposal.  It’s a pdf of an image so I can’t copy and past the text.  But, one of Ezra’s readers posted this evaluation (this is just a bit from the middle.  He’s got more detail in a chart):

IF by ‘15% of income on a plan” INCLUDES the deductibles and caopys, there will merely be a lot of people excused from purcahsing insurance.The average price for a non-group plan for an individual is pushing $4000 in premiums with a $1000 -1500 deductible plus copays of 20-30%. Such a plan can easily blow past costs of $6000-12000 a year. For $6000-12000 a year to be 15% of gross income would take an income of $40000 (33% in excess of the average wage) to $80000.

If one is near or over 50, expect $6000 -8000 a year in premiums with a $2500 deductible and 30% copays.

The average price for a family plan is over $13,000 with a $2000 -5000 deductible plus 20-30% copays. A household of 3 would need an income of over $100,000 for $13000 in premiums with a $2000 deductible to only be 15% of gross income.

IF “15% of income for a plan” means JUST the premiums, there will be open defiance of the mandate. The deductibles and copays can easily drive the cost of a plan to 2 – 4 times that of the premiums. Expecting household to ante up 15% of gross income ($4873 in premiums alone for 1 person with a $32,491 income) and then to pay a $1000 -2500 deductible plus 20-30% copays on top of that iis NUTS! They will be sinking wel over 20% of their income into medical insurance and copays and deductibles. How on earth are they supposed to pay 20% of their income in taxes, spend 25% on housing, save 10% for retirement, 5% for retirement, pay for transportation, repay student loans and still eat when 80% of their income is committed to health insurance, taxes, housing, and savings?

Posted by: eabpmn

(emphasis mine)

Is this meant to just push back on our expectations?  Because I honestly don’t see how this so-called-plan is worth the time to discuss it.  It might actually be worse than what we have!

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31 Responses

  1. Might be worse than what we have? If this is the written plan, I assure it will be worse since these things never come out as well as they appear. The law of unintended (or intended) circumstances will scew us all.

    • I think we’ve got to go with “intended” at this point.

      • Sadly, I believe intended is correct. One thing is certain, the big campaign contributors don’t have to worry about reform. They’ll be rolling in mandated coverage money!

  2. This is raping households. They have raped the treasury and now they are going to come directly into our paychecks.

    “Yes we can!”

  3. Why is Ezra upset? We gave up on health care when we decided Obama’s our guy. Because it’s not important compared to all the other things he brings to the table. You know, those things.

    • Narcissism and egomania?

      • LOL you know what though? It wouldn’t even matter if Hillary were President. Because whatever she proposed, they’d completely sabotage and undercut her and send her the same useless crap bills. There’s a freaking Democratic supermajority and not even the one good Democrat we have could pry one actual Democratic action out of them.

        WTF do we do now?

        • With the exact same horrible policies as Obama after five months, they’d be calling for impeachment.

        • We throw every bastard onboard with this out. That’s my intent anyway. I’ll take my chances with the other party if this is the best a Democratic majority has. Screw em’

          • One of Obama’s campaign songs was Stevie Wonder’s “signed, sealed, delivered”.

            I say that was this was quite right and pretty honest in a way.

          • LOL! I’ll give him credit for chutzpah. Now if only he had gotten Howie and Donna to sing it.

    • obama will give a speech – it will all be fine then.

    • What were those “things” anyway? I never understood. Oh yeah, he was going to bring the troops home wasn’t he?

      {{hysterical laughter}}

  4. […] The Confluence: Could “reform” possibly look worse than what we’ve got? […]

  5. Linda
    all the way through the primary and campaign I said this should be his theme song but nobody believed me.

    Walter Cronkite is in the hospital.
    Today’s so called journalist could learn from him.
    But today we are stuck with stenos.



  6. aww don’t be so hard on Congress. Their main job is protecting their jobs – and that means protecting the insurance companies that fund their re-elections.
    A Fox News reporter was stationed outside the Committee room and said lobbyists had been going in and out all day. Lobbyists – another source of campaign donations.
    See – it’s all good!


  7. This is a plan they are proposing so that the public will insist that it not be passed and they can say they tried but could not get the American people to accept it. Its the best they could do at this time. We do have elections coming up in 2010 and 1012. They are gonna need those big money donors. They can’t piss themoff now.

  8. This almost makes McCain’s plan look good! The new American curse will be—“we got you covered”.

  9. Wellness issues. Why have a Personalized Prevention Plan for just medicare and medicaid recipients? A PPP for medicare might sound good but folks if you wait until you are 65 to get involved in prevention, isn’t it a little late in the game? If we are going to bring healthcare costs down a PPP it seems to me should be mandated for everyone.

    I don’t see anything here about “cost containment”. Why do Americans spend more on health care? Provide care to fewer people? And have less successful results? Because the system rewards tests and treatments that are expensive.

    Where is Sebelius on all of this? Why isn’t the HHS Sec. leading on a plan for the Administration? This is a repeat of the stimulus plan where the plan was put together by a Democratic congress negotiating with the creators of the problem.

  10. […] Katiebird at The Confluence points us to Ezra Klein’s article on the latest Senate Finance Committee version: Sources say that it’s a major scale-back of the outline they had before. Specifically, subsidies have dropped from 400 percent of the poverty line to 300 percent. Medicaid eligibility has been tightened to 133 percent of poverty for children and pregnant women and 100 percent of poverty for parents and childless adults. The plans being offered in the exchange have seen their actuarial values sharply lowered. […]

  11. In what sense is this plan a failure? The insurance companies won’t merely hold us up. We’ll be ordered to pay them. That means more money for the companies and less trouble getting it. Surely that counts as complete success?

    Never forget:

    “We radically changed [the health care bill] in response to concerns that were raised by the insurance industry.” (Obama, 2004/05/19)

    … talking about his role in Illinois’ attempt to broaden health care access when he was a State Senator.

  12. we are so screwn.

  13. Here’s my first impression. There is a lot of good stuff in it, but I’m focusing on the problems that jump out to me.

    The 15% rule applies to premiums only.

    The out-of-pocket limits are based on current HSA limits; they seem perhaps to be $5K for individuals and $10K for families. Does anyone know for sure?

    The fine for not having insurance is defined as an unspecified percentage of the lowest cost plan available. So we don’t know how much of an incentive it is for people to buy.

    It looks like the insurers can charge whatever they like. So that means we can’t guess how many people will meet the 15% income limit on premiums, and be allowed to opt out without paying a fine.

    And even for those who don’t meet the 15% limit, depending how high the fine is and how high the premiums, we can’t guess how many people will end up blowing the whole thing off. It could be a lot, and they’ll be a lot of the same people who don’t have coverage now – people who can’t afford it.

    Possibly the young & healthy will be over-represented in the group opting out, making the premiums higher for everyone else. Having everyone in the system was one of the ways single-payer would bring costs down, not to mention the moral value.

    Adjusted community rating can be 7.5:1 for small groups and individuals – some people, or some small groups, can be charged up to 7.5 times as much as others. Isn’t this VERY high? They can’t use health status but it sounds like they can use age, maybe sex? This means premiums may be extremely high for some people.

    Don’t see anything about mental health parity.

    Undocumented aliens are not required to buy, but it looks like they may.

    So it looks like we still have emergency rooms full of people without insurance, and all the cost shifting that goes with it.

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