Your morning Health Care Reform update
Well the dice are cast and the only thing we’re waiting for is to see if Democrats come up with their point or crap out. Right now, I’d have to say it’s inching toward making their point – but I’m not sure they’re going to end up considering that to be a good thing in the near future. What’s caused me to reconsider my thinking about whether or not this will pass is yesterday’s vote on the Slaughter rule or “deem and pass”. In a straight party-line vote, 222 Democrats (6 more than they need to pass HCR) said yes to “deem and pass”. That says that the bulk want this monstrosity to pass and are looking for the appropriate cover to make it happen. So all whip counts aside, there are enough votes to make it happen, they just don’t want to be on record saying so – thus yesterday’s vote.
If they don’t use the rule, I think the bill may fail. If they do, the state of Virginia is lined up to take the Congress to court with a Constitutional challenge. Although the court has been loath to rule about Congressional procedures for the most part, this particular rule flies directly in the face of a Constitutionally mandated duty to record the “Yeas and Nays” in “the journal”. That says to most who read it that votes must be recorded by name.
That aside, the numbers from the CBO are being widely panned as misleading. Those aren’t the CBO’s numbers – they simply deal with what they’re given – they’re the numbers from the pending bill and reconciliation package. The Weekly Standard gives them some pretty good context that all can understand:
[It] is like the introductory price quoted by a cell phone provider. It’s the price before you pay for minutes, fees, and overcharges — and before the price balloons after the introductory offer expires.
If you need a more graphic representation, this will do:
Of course, if you take the decade of 2014 to 2024 into account, the “introductory” offer doesn’t at all look so rosy or good.
Maggie’s Farm has a great round up (and is where I found the graphic). Good quotes from some of the analysis being done on both tdhe numbers and the bill.
Keith Hennessey adds some analysis here.
The Heritage Foundation also looks at the bill and taxes involved. Here are three effects they find within the bill and reconciliation package:
New Middle-Class Taxes: Throughout his campaign, President Barack Obama promised he would not raise taxes on American households making less than $250,000. The Senate bill shatters that promise. For starters, just look at the reason Trumka went to the White House yesterday: the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans. This tax would overwhelmingly hit middle-class taxpayers. Taxes on prescription drugs, wheel chairs and other medical devices would also be passed on to all consumers, hitting the lower- and middle- classes the hardest.
Increased Health Care Costs: The Senate bill manifestly does nothing to bend the health care cost curve downward. According to the latest CBO report, the Senate bill would actually increase health care spending by $210 billion over the next 10 years. This follows a previous report from the President’s own Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showing the Senate bill would result in $234 billion in additional health care spending over 10 years.
Increased Health Insurance Premiums: The President initially promised that Americans would see a $2,500 annual reduction in their family health care costs. But under the Senate bill, premiums would go up for millions of Americans. In fact, according to the CBO, estimated premiums in the individual market would be 10–13 percent higher by 2016 than they would be under current law.
In fact, further commenting on the last paragraph, in a letter to Sen. Olympia Snowe, the CBO has said those premium increases would be significant. Identifying the most basic level of health care coverage as “Bronze level”, the CBO’s Douglas Elmendorf said:
“Overall, CBO estimates that premiums for Bronze plans purchased individually in 2016 would probably average between $4,500 and $5,000 for single policies and between $12,000 and $12,500 for family policies,” he wrote.
If you can divide by 12, that’s not in anyway cheaper than health care is now. And that’s for the bare minimum which covers an estimated 60% of cost.
Cost containment? Lower premiums? Cheaper health care costs?
Let’s review the promise one more time: The Democrats promise more people on the insurance roles, no cap on payouts, sicker people on the insurance roles and it’s all going to cost less.
I don’t know where you’ve been all your life, but I’ve existed in the real world where experience tells me that such promises are indicative of scam of the worst kind. Nigerian emailers score on the same sort of scam daily. It’s a crying shame when it is your government that is involved in the scam. But, given Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, it’s not unexpected.