Conveniently, I've been paying attention to the question of age ratios since the initial Finance Committee markup. So let's take a quick stroll down memory lane:
- The intial Chairman's mark set the "age ratio" at 5-to-1. That is, if a 27-year-old non-smoker paid $200/month for an insurance policy, the insurer could charge a 55-year-old non-smoker $1000/month. In contrast, both the House and the Senate HELP Committee set the ratio at 2-to-1.
- After some outcry from Jay Rockefeller (and, I believe, Olympia Snowe (!)), Baucus lowered the ratio to 4-to-1 prior to markup.
- Rockefeller proposed an amendment to lower the ratio to 2-to-1 to match the House bill and the HELP Committee. This failed in the Finance Committee
- Harry Reid's blended bill, reconciling the two Senate bills, set the age ratio at 3-to-1.
Today, perhaps some intrepid "youthful" reporter will have as much intestinal fortitude as Ezra, and ask why it is that Joe Lieberman insisted upon changes to the bill that will lead near-seniors to overpay for their insurance by at least $1600.
Update: To make matters worse, Lieberman keeps talking about how "generous" the subsidies are, as though maybe the government is spending too much money to help people afford insurance. There are two rejoinders to this. One is that letting people buy into Medicare would probably lead the government to spend less on subsidies, since Medicare drives a harder bargain than private insurance. Second, Lieberman seems to be implying that if he ruled the world, he would make insurance more expensive for those earning less than 400% of FPL. While the CBO's latest estimate suggests people are actually getting a decent deal (and I'll have more on that later), this is insane.