Monday, February 22, 2010

The President’s Health Care Proposal

There is not much I can add that has not already been said today about the White House proposal for health reform. The Kaiser Health News summary is posted here and a nice side-by-side comparison is here.

The indefatigable Ezra Klein summarizes it well over at his blog at WaPo:

But the real story of the bill is as it's always been: This is an effort to build a working health-care system in this country, and though people talk about the bill's complexity, it's really based on four simple elements: hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies so people can afford insurance; regulations so that insurers can't deny people insurance and create a situation where only the healthy have coverage; a mandate so that people have to purchase insurance and can't create a situation where no one purchases coverage until they're sick; and exchanges so that there's a working market where people can buy their insurance and be confident in the product's quality.

As far as Medicaid is concerned, many of the provisions affect Medicaid in one way or another but the most important piece is that it has the Federal government pay for 100% of Medicaid expansion. That, coupled with some provisions that improve the fairness of the tax system (e.g. Medicare taxes will now be collected on investments and other nonearned income), will actually reduce the Federal deficit over the next 10 years.

These changes, in addition to HHS’ recent rebates (i.e. reduction in “clawback” payments) as highlighted by Health News Florida mean that a significant amount of the recent dire predictions - that states would need to make cuts all the way to the bone regarding social safety net programs - will turn out to ring hollow. ~BAA