The long awaited, supposedly bipartisan senate bill is now out. Interestingly, Baucus dropped the bipartisan effort at the last minute rejecting at least a dozen proposed GOP amendments.
It has no public option per se but it is loaded with stiff penalties with families facing tax penalties as high as $3,800 a year for not complying, singles $950. As one resident of Massachusetts where Mitt Romney imposed an individual mandate in 2006, this is like taxing the homeless for not buying a mansion.
His plan remains a public option by other means....imposing vast new national insurance regulation, huge new subsidies to pay for the higher insurance costs this regulation will require and all financed by new taxes and penalties on businesses, individuals and health-care providers.
His cost is $856 billion...the cheapest of all the other bills still pending. To help pay for this is the still as yet undefined reducing Medicaid costs. Fees on everyone from drug makers, insurance companies, medical device makers, labs and a whopping 35% excise tax on the plans that charge over $8K for singles and $20K for families.
Doesn't he know that these added fees will simply be passed along to the consumer in some shape or form?
Mandates for all citizens and legal residents to have health insurance. I find it terribly ironic that if liberal health care reform is supposed to be so good for us then why in hell does it require stiff, harsh penalties that force everyone to buy it? Geez--louise.
They require individuals to get health insurance from employers, or 2 other options but yet it doesn't require employers to provide insurance, but if they do...it has to be "qualified" coverage....what the hell does that mean and who regulates that?... but yet will impose a fee...read tax...on employers with 50 or more employees that go elsewhere and get subsidized government policies. Talk about a Catch-22.
To be fair there are a couple of positives....forbidding exclusion for pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage, and lifetime limits on coverages. My question here is...who is going to regulate this???
Coops and state based exchanges for individuals and companies to shop policies. Why not just require all insurers to offer the same plan...nation-wide?
All policies have to offer the same basic benefits...primary, preventive, hospitalization and prescription drugs. But yet singles, under 25 can opt out of certain coverages.
Then there is this thing about the government subsidies.....the subsidies in the Baucus plan go to people without a job-based plan and who earn under three times the federal poverty level, or about $66,000 for a family of four.
Take a family of four making $42,000 in 2016. While government would subsidize 80% of their premium and pay $1,500 to offset cost-sharing, they'd still pay $6,000 a year or 14.3% of their total income. A family making $54,000 could still pay 18.1% of their income, while an individual earning $26,500 would be on the hook for 15.5%, and one earning $32,400 for 17.3%. So lower-income workers would still be forced to devote huge portions of their salaries to expensive policies that they may not want or be able to afford.
How can these kind of subsidies be justified in light of Obama's promise that the reform package not add 1 dime to the budget deficit?
I guess this is a start but even other democrats like Rockefeller of WV is concerned about the affordibility element and says he won't support the bill.
So the way I see it.....this plan would increase the cost of insurance and then force people to buy it, requiring subsidies. Those subsidies would be paid for by taxes that make health care and thus insurance even more expensive, requiring even more subsidies and still higher taxes and that's even before other liberal Democrats see Mr. Baucus and raise him, and then attempt to ram it all through the Senate.
That about it?