Thursday, September 10, 2009

Improved Health Insurance Reform Flowchart

Several commenters have helped me find more accurate statistics on the number of Americans with employer-provided insurance, as well as on the income of those who have individual insurance. Below is an updated flowchart that illustrates how many of the currently uninsured will end up with Medicaid, subsidized individual insurance, or unsubsidized individual insurance; how many people will end up using the Public Option; and what exactly those "new consumer protections" will accomplish. Update: to clarify, this covers something like the Rockefeller bill or the Baucus Bill. Something like HR 3200 or the Senate HELP Bill, both of which which provide subsidies up to 400% of poverty and Medicaid up to 150 or 167% of poverty, would make those portions of the chart bigger and the unsubsidized portion smaller. This is not a sign that I hate HR 3200; it is just much easier to find statistics on the insurance coverage of those making 300% of the poverty line than it is for 400% of the poverty line.

Click the image for a larger version:

I made this flowchart to drive two points home:
  • A tremendous amount of the shouting has tried to convince people that this is "too complicated" and so we should throw up our hands and give up. But for most Americans, figuring out "what does health insurance reform mean for me" requires answer three questions -- "do I currently have government-provided health care?", "do I currently have employer-provided health insurance?", and "how much money does my family earn". That's it! Three questions! That's easier than ordering dinner at T.G.I.Friday's ("What would you like to drink?" "What would you like to eat?" "How would you like it cooked?" "Would you like fries, chips, cole slaw, or a side salad?" See! Four questions!). So the next time Betsy McCaughey shows up with a one-thousand page binder, remember that nine hundred ninety-nine of those pages happen behind the scenes. People who are not employed by health care providers or insurance companies only have to worry about one page.
  • The other point I wanted to drive home is that the Public Option will only affect a small number of people. It's not even available if you have employer-provided insurance. Making regulations 10% more consumer-friendly for 177 million with employer-provided insurance has more overall impact than doubling the size of Public Option enrollment from 12 million to 24 million. Lord knows I would like to see the public option, but other parts of insurance reform will have equal if not greater impact.
To give folks some context, this is Chris Hayes at Netroots Nation, giving the spiel that kicked off this whole thing:

Finally, i the interests of balance, here is a Republican flowchart from their budget proposal submitted earlier in 2009:

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