Obamacare Close to a Vote

Back from the dead, Obamacare now seems like it will come to a vote. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) has put a price tag on the latest version that just barely comes in under PresBO’s limit of $900 billion.

The version of the bill draft that the CBO and JCT analysts used would require most legal U.S. residents to have health insurance; set up insurance “exchanges” that some individuals and families could use to buy subsidized health coverage; expand eligibility for Medicaid; slash the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services; and impose an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums.

Some items of note.

The bill only includes federal budget expenditures. It does not factor in the increased health insurance premiums to cover mandated items like banning underwriting of pre-existing medical conditions (guaranteed issue), community rating, age rated limits, mental health parity, etc. which will at the very least, DOUBLE current health insurance premiums.

So much for coming up with affordable health insurance premiums.

We have to at least wonder about the savings that will originate by “slashing the growth of Medicare payment rates” and what this means to medical providers and Medicare beneficiaries as well.

The obvious answer is, fewer docs willing to accept Medicare patients and more out of pocket for Medicare beneficiaries for non-covered items.

And how about that excise tax on high premium policies?

The expansion of health coverage would add $829 billion in costs from 2010 to 2019, but it should add $201 billion in health plan excise tax revenue, achieve $110 billion in miscellaneous net savings, lead to $404 in federal spending reductions, and lead to $196 billion in other federal revenue increases, the analysts estimate.

You don’t suppose people will cut benefits to lower the premium and avoid the excise tax do you? Wonder how that will muck up the works for the bean counters in Washington?

Given the track record of the CBO and their inability to accurately project costs for Medicare, the Part D drug coverage and Medicare Advantage plans we don’t hold much hope that projections on this will be any better.

In other words, I’m not buying their numbers.

For those who want to read the letter from the CBO Director to Sen. Baucus, here you go.

We want to thank Cigna for making this summary possible.

Speak Your Mind