One of the greatest concerns on both sides of the health care debate
has been cost. Wouldn't a public health insurance plan, designed to
cover millions of Americans at rates significantly more affordable than
private health insurance, carry an enormous price tag? The
Congressional Budget Office has scored
Max Baucus's health care reform plan, projecting it would actually
lower the deficit by $81 billion over the first ten years. In other
words, it pays for itself. The CBO report also says it would ensure 94%
of Americans have insurance, an increase from the current 83% that
means 29 million Americans will receive coverage. Is this the moment that will finally secure health care reform? Update: See also the caveats and bad news in the CBO report.
- Here's Who Really Benefits Ezra Klein surveys
who would be most impacted. "All these proposals are major improvements
for the uninsured and those
left out of the employer-based market. That means they're major
improvements for those who are hurting the worst," he writes. "CBO
estimates that 29 million Americans who would've otherwise been
uninsured will be covered. That's a very big deal. Five million
Americans who would otherwise have been left to the individual market
will find a better option. And 3 million Americans who would've
otherwise been in employer-based health insurance will be on the
exchanges or, in some cases, on Medicaid. The insurance exchanges are
projected to serve 23 million people come 2019, and 18 million of the
members will be low-income and on subsidies."
- Opportunity to Expand Coverage Rachel Maddow suggests that the
bill's cheapness leaves room to cover more people. "One response that
was highlighted on The New York Times' web site today was that hospital
groups are upset because they say the new analysis shows that the bill
doesn't get close enough to universal coverage. So, it's not going to
cost as much money as expected, and it's not covering enough
people. I wonder if this could be an occasion for making the bill more
progressive, spend a little more, cover a few more people."
- Leaves Republicans Little Room for Objection Howard Fineman notes
that Republicans have long trusted such CBO reports. "This bill is
going to successfully, I think, put a floor under the negotiations," he
told Maddow. "And I think the dynamics in negotiations, keeping in
mind, though, the complexity of the Senate, they're all going to be in
the direction of trying to improve the bill as far as the president is
concerned, I think. That CBO thing was very significant because the
Republicans have put a lot of stock in CBO numbers. Now, they can't
walk away from the bill just based on that."
- Republicans for Reform? Steve Benen adds Bob Dole to the growing list of Republicans
who support health care reform, but notes that none are actually in
Congress. "To be sure, none of these guys will have a vote when reform
the floor. But this recent trend nevertheless matters. The
growing-but-informal 'Republicans for Reform' gives the larger effort a
meaningful boost -- making reform appear more bipartisan, giving cover
to centrist Dems, painting GOP lawmakers as petty obstructionists, and
making it that much more difficult to characterize reform as some kind
of radical liberal idea."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.