Monday, October 19, 2009

More Health Care Charts

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has put out a great wishlist for the final health care bill. At the top of their list is the fact that the insurance premium subsidies don't really make insurance affordable. I took the data they produced and put it in chart form, along with the premium payments under Commonwealth Care in Massachusetts. Note that in Massachusetts, there is no subsidy for households earning more than 300% of FPL; they're buying well-regulated insurance on the private market.

As you can see, the Senate HELP bill is within shouting distance of Commonwealth Care; in fact, it addresses the largest problem with the Massachusetts plan, which is the difficulty faced by households too well-off to qualify for subsidies, but not well-off enough to afford the full price of insurance. If it were to pass, its combination of new revenue and spending cuts would leave people paying premiums they could live with. A family of three earning $45,000 who pays $200 per month for insurance will feel like they're getting value for their payments; wellness checkups for their children will be covered, and they have peace of mind that they won't go bankrupt if they get sick (though they may end up paying off a four-figure deductible for a while). But the same family paying $360/month for crappier insurance, as dictated by the Finance bill, will be much less happy. The bill that emerged from the Energy and Commerce Committee is a middle ground, but it's much closer to the Finance bill. The House bill coming from the other two committees—Ways & Means and Ed-Labor— is much closer to the product that HELP produced.
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