CBO says Baucus plan would reduce the deficit

The news from Reuters:

In a report that could help smooth the way for committee approval, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill would reduce the number of uninsured people in the United States by about 29 million by the year 2019.

The cost was lower than many analysts had expected, and the estimated reduction in the deficit and relatively large number of people covered probably means the panel will not have to make more adjustments before a vote on final passage within the next week.

Except for that little detail of taxing generous health care insurance plans. From WaPo:

“It’s the old Washington, D.C., law of unintended consequences,” said Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consulting firm. “They went after the Goldman Sachs partner and they ended up with the fireman in Brooklyn.”

Laszewski and other health policy experts said union plans are likely to be the hardest hit by any new tax because their premiums tend to be higher for several reasons: Union workers are often older and concentrated in urban manufacturing areas, where medical costs are higher.

And though the Senate will debate this detail, the House is not impressed. WaPo again:

In a letter sent Wednesday to the White House and Senate leaders, as well as to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 157 of the chamber’s 256 Democrats urged Pelosi to reject the version of the tax adopted last week by the Senate Finance Committee: a 40-percent excise tax that would be imposed on insurance companies selling high-cost insurance plans.

So, the obvious question that comes to my mind: Does that mean Congress would be taxed, too?


  1. Union workers are often older and concentrated in urban manufacturing areas, where medical costs are higher.

    Gee. He musta forgot that Union plans usually have no deductibles and no co-pays, either.

    Of course, THOSE terms don’t have an impact on premiums. Nosirreee.

  2. Randy in Richmond says:

    Let’s see if I understand this. Non-citizens are out of the picture. That leaves 35 million uninsured in the country. Of that number 17 million make over $50,000 and thus pretty much choose not to have coverage. About 12 million already qualify for public assistance and choose not to participate. That means all this disruption to our economy and all that will happen as a result of the passage of this bill–is for 6 million (1.8 % ) uninsured people who are that way not by their own choice.


  3. Oh rats Randy. You made my head spin there. I’m heading to bed and will think on that in the morning. I’m always impressed in how you can manage the details.

  4. Randy in Richmond says:

    To further break this down, let’s look at cost per person. Using the $829 billion figure, which is just one of five proposed plans, it breaks down to $13,816 per person per year. Don’t think family plan. A family of three will cost $41,448 per year.This is to cover those who currently do not have health coverage not by their own choice (I know, a double negative).
    If you use the 29 million people figure from the CBO, that means you and I will be picking up the tab for the health insurance of 17 million Americans making over $50,000 per year.

  5. Well thanks for ruining my morning coffee Randy. $14,000 is what I think we’re paying each year for the family. So this would really cost a lot more.

  6. Randy in Richmond says:

    My individual plan runs me about $320 a month and I do make reasonable co-payments. In reality, no one knows what the final bill will be. The Baucus Bill does not include a public option but the others do. That option throws a big monkey wrench into the equation. With a public option included most are predicting the cost to be around $1 trillion.

  7. I get a hoot watching the news channels proclaim health care reform isn’t going to increase the deficit. This is but one of five versions of the bill. These numbers might look good on the surface, but they won’t hold.