Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Behind the Curtain in Obama's Health Plan?

There are a LOT of details missing from the Obama health plan--and when the NYTimes expresses that, you know....

Though Mr. Obama has not released details, economists believe he might require large and medium companies to contribute as much as 6 percent of their payrolls

...Writ large, that is one of the significant concerns about Mr. Obama’s health plan, which like this state’s landmark 2006 law would subsidize coverage for the uninsured by taxing employers who do not cover their workers. And it is a primary reason that so-called play-or-pay proposals have had an unsteady history for nearly two decades.

With Mr. Obama’s plan, business leaders say, the devil will be in the unknown details.

...Left undefined has been what size firms would be exempted, what constitutes a “meaningful contribution,” and how much noncompliant businesses would be required to pay.

Gee. "Meaningful contribution." Does that sorta, kinda, vaguely sound like "all workers whose employers don't offer a sufficiently generous pension..."

The Obama campaign is unapologetic. In fact, near defiant on the question.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, badgered Mr. Obama in two of their debates to define the penalty, but Mr. Obama did not rise to the bait.

“We made a decision even before the plan was rolled out not to decide,” said David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist who speaks for the campaign on health care. “
It’s not that there’s a decision out there that we’re not telling. It’s literally that we’ve decided not to decide.”

Now THAT's reassuring.

For those of you who recall the Wisconsin proposal, these numbers will resonate:

Several econometric models have assumed that Mr. Obama would have to set his penalty near 6 percent of payroll (Mercer, a benefits consulting firm says that large employers typically pay 15 percent).

Vote Obama! There's a surprise inside!!

HT: JustOneMinute

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