Thursday, March 18, 2010

Early Look at House ObamaCare Bill (#2)


Congressional Democratic leaders just released their summary of Bill #2, the health bill they intend to move through the reconciliation process.

Here is their description document. I caution you that this is a sales pitch aimed at Congressional Democrats.

H. includes a link to the text, along with a few thoughts (heh.)

--There are several Byrd rule violations.

--Weaker individual mandates means more healthy people will stay out of the system and pay penalty fees until they get sick. This means premiums for the rest of us in the system will be higher

--One-time $250 “rebate” in 2010 for beneficiaries who reach the [drug] “coverage gap” is pure politics.

--More savings from Medicare Advantage plans means fewer Medicare Advantage plans. Massive changes to the Medicare Advantage payments formulas will fundamentally change these markets. Seniors in MA plans should expect significant changes as plans adapt to the new payments rules

--Cadillac tax is delayed until 2018 and the threshold is increased.

--Expands the Cornhusker Kickback to cover all States.

--Spends money on doctors in 2013 and 2014, but leaves out the permanent fix, as expected. This means there’s another $300-ish B of Medicare spending that is not counted in this bill. So much for true deficit neutrality.

--This bill prohibits States from paying primary care doctors less through Medicaid than they receive in Medicare (for two years). This is the camel’s nose under the tent to a long-term increase in Medicaid payments to providers. This means a loss of expenditure control for Governors, higher Medicaid costs for States and the federal government, and higher incomes for doctors. This is also the beginning of the reversal of a strong bipartisan mid-90’s policy consensus.

--Secretary of HHS could “review potentially unreasonable premiums and may take corrective actions, such as requiring the insurer to pay a penalty, denying or modifying the premium or ordering the plan to pay rebates to consumers.” What is a potentially unreasonable premium??

There's a bit more at the link.

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