First, let's list the people who will be much better off under Baucuscare than they currently are. Remember, keep the flowchart in mind:
- New Medicaid qualifiers who are currently uninsured. These are the 14 million people who earn less than 133% of FPL ($29,300 for a family of 4) who will now qualify for Medicaid. This is a huge boost to their well-being and financial security. In fact, individuals between 100% and 133% of FPL are better off under Baucuscare than they would be under the Massachusetts plan, since Medicaid has less cost sharing than Commonwealth care.
- Working and middle-class households who buy individual insurance policies. These are the six million people between 133% and 300% of FPL who currently buy individual insurance policies on the private market. They will now pay less for insurance. Or they will pay the same amount, but they will have better insurance. Baucuscare is good for these people.
[The income levels here, by the way, are 141%, 175%, 225%, and 275% of FPL; essentially the midpoint of each income bracket]
People in Massaschusetts are by and large satisfied with the Connector. It's toughest on the fairly small number of families earning just over 300% of FPL (of which there aren't that many), and on the larger number of young individuals who make just over 300% of FPL (which is $32,320 for an individual, so there are a decent number of those folks). Working class families earning up to 200% of FPL have fairly low premiums. $90 per month is going to pinch, but for uninsured households, they'll get some real value out of that: Commonwealth Care plans include dental insurance, wellness checkups have low co-payments; chronic disease care is especially well covered, and so forth. Likewise, three hundred pre-tax dollars a month for a family with a gross income of $60,000 per year is Real Money, but it's not going to break the bank. It's less than what they should be saving for college, for instance.
But as you can see from the graph, the Baucus bill doesn't fare as well. It's not even close to faring as well. The eight million individuals without insurance who earn between 200% and 300% of FPL will pay more than twice what similar households in Massachusetts currently pay. And working class families will feel a real pinch; $250 per month ($3,000 per year) for a family of four with an income of $38,000 is going to hurt. (This paragraph was edited for clarity)
The alternative scenarios are not quite as bad. I especially like the
Up next: I'll explore policy options to get the red bar closer to the dark blue bar. Who said charts weren't fun?