Keep It Simple- What a Republican health-care plan should look like.

Posted on October 12, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , , , , , |

by Jeffrey H. Anderson

The American people haven’t been shy about expressing their views on health-care reform. In the polls and at public events nationwide, they’ve made it clear that they don’t want a behemoth bill that would fundamentally transform a health-care system that works well for most Americans and which offers a level of care that is largely the envy of the world. But they are also understandably concerned about health care’s rising costs, its lack of portability, and the ten percent of Americans who are uninsured. They want to see these pressing problems be addressed, but in a sensible and moderate way.

The bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus does not answer Americans’ call. The Baucus bill is the real health-care bill, the bill on which the Obama administration is implicitly pinning its hopes. But it defiantly turns a deaf ear to the American people.

Seniors have been quite vocal in their concern that health-care legislation would degrade the quality of Medicare, yet the Baucus bill would gut the popular Medicare Advantage program and would pay for its own huge price-tag primarily through cuts to Medicare and related federal health programs. Seniors won’t relish robbing from Medicare to pay for BaucusCare, especially when Medicare is perhaps already the least fiscally solvent program in the United States. But the Baucus bill treats Medicare as if it were a money tree, providing a steady supply of cash to spend elsewhere.

Americans have said that they want more choice and freedom in health care, yet the Baucus bill would mandate that all Americans buy a government-approved insurance plan and would fine them if they don’t. Americans are weary of the federal government’s profligate spending and intrusiveness, yet the Baucus bill is full of Byzantine regulations that only a lawyer could love, and–according to the Congressional Budget Office–it would cost a mind-boggling $2.9 trillion over 20 years while increasing taxes by $2.0 trillion over that same span.

Furthermore, Americans want insurance to be more affordable. Yet the Baucus bill’s requirement that insurers cover all comers–at the same price, at any time–would lead millions to pay the government its fine (still much less than the cost of a premium), quit carrying insurance year-round, and repurchase it only when the immediate need arises. Everyone else’s insurance premiums would skyrocket.

The American people don’t want any of this. They don’t want a huge bill. Instead, they want a small bill that addresses their central concerns without opening the door to far greater..

Read more at the Weekly Standard.com

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AHIP report to take whack at SFC bill; UPDATE: WH feels “misled”

Posted on October 12, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , , , , , |

Look for this on the Hill as early as Monday: A report commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans alleging that the Senate Finance Committee legislation would cause health care costs to go up faster than under the current system.

The report, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has caused some buzz among Hill GOP aides. It was described to Pulse by a person familiar with the findings. (UPDATE: Here it is.)

The report will drop ahead of a crucial vote on the bill Tuesday in the Finance Committee, and could figure into the discussion there. At the very least, expect to hear a lot more about the report from Republicans, who are looking to slow any kind of momentum for the Democratic health care reform proposals after the Congressional Budget Office’s positive analysis last week.

The CBO concluded the Finance Committee bill would reduce the deficit by $81 billion in 2019, allaying the concerns of centrist senators for whom cost is a chief issue. 

It’s interesting that the report comes from AHIP, which has spoken publicly in favor of overhauling the health care system, but has worked behind-the-scenes to kill aspects of the president’s plan, including attempts to create a government competitor to private plans, Insurance companies have also balked at the watered-down individual mandate in the Finance bill.

Read the Rest of the story Posted by Carrie Budoff Brown on Politico.com

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The Greatest Show on Earth

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , , , |

Step right up: A new entitlement that cuts the deficit!

Washington spent the week waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to roll in with its new cost estimates of the Senate health-care bill, and what a carnival. Behold: a new $829 billion entitlement that will subsidize insurance for tens of millions of people—and reduce deficits by $81 billion at the same time. In the next tent, see the mermaid and a two-headed cow.

The political and media classes are proving they’ll believe anything, as they are now pronouncing that this never-before-seen miracle is a “green light” for ObamaCare. (What isn’t these days?) The irony is that the CBO’s guesstimate exposes the fraudulence and fiscal sleight-of-hand underlying this whole exercise. Anyone who reads beyond the top-line numbers will find that the bill creates massive new spending commitments that will inevitably explode over time, and that this is “paid for” with huge tax increases plus phantom spending cuts that will never happen in practice.

The better part of the 10-year $829 billion overall cost will finance insurance “exchanges” where individuals and families could purchase coverage at heavily subsidized rates. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus kept a lid on the cost by making this program non-universal: Enrollment is limited to those who aren’t offered employer-sponsored insurance and earn under 400% of the poverty level, or about $88,000 for a family of four. CBO expects some 23 million people to sign up by 2019.

But this “firewall” is unlikely to last even that long. Liberals are demanding heftier subsidies, and once people see the deal their neighbors are getting on “free” health care, they too will want in. Even CBO seems to find this unrealistic, noting “These projections assume that the proposals are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation.” Scratch “often.”

Then there are the many budget gimmicks. Take the “failsafe budgeting mechanism” that would require automatic cuts in exchange spending if it increases the deficit. CBO expects 15% reductions in exchange subsidies each year from 2015 to 2018, even though the exchanges don’t open until 2014. That kind of re-gifting should have been laughed out of the committee room, but the ruse helps to move future spending off the current budget “score.”

Read the rest at Wall Street Journal

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