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CBO Estimates House Health Bill at $905B or Less

By Lori Montgomery
Congressional budget analysts have given House leaders cost estimates for two competing versions of their plan to overhaul the health-care system, concluding that one comes within striking distance of the $900 billion limit set by President Obama and the other falls below it.

House leaders have been working to lower the cost of the $1.2 trillion health-care package they offered in July. The report from the Congressional Budget Office, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, puts the cost of one plan at $859 billion over the next decade and the other at $905 billion.

The cheaper version would rely heavily on a more dramatic expansion of Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor that is funded partly by the states -- meaning already-strapped governors would have to pick up more of the cost of reform.

Compared with the original package, the two new proposals would offer less generous subsidies for people who need help buying insurance and do not have access to affordable employer coverage. Additional savings would come from reducing employer tax credits.


Both packages are based on the original House framework, which proposes to extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans by expanding Medicaid eligibility and subsidizing private insurance for people who lack access to affordable coverage through an employer. Each would expand the ranks of the insured to more than 95 percent of Americans by 2019, and each would create a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies.

Under the $905 billion version favored by liberals, compensation rates for medical providers in the government-run insurance plan would be based on Medicare rates, which are significantly lower than private rates. That idea, which Senate liberals also support, would hold down costs for the government, according to the CBO, but it would create a problem for providers in rural areas where Medicare rates tend to run much lower than the national average.

Under the $859 billion version, administrators would negotiate rates directly with doctors and hospitals, the option preferred by moderate Democrats from rural areas.

In addition, the $859 billion proposal would shift millions more people onto Medicaid instead of offering them federal subsidies to buy private insurance. Those who purchased insurance would also get slightly less generous coverage.

The estimates look only at the cost of expanding coverage and do not indicate what their impact would be on the nation's budget deficit. House leaders are still struggling to assemble a package that is paid for and can win the votes of a majority of rank-and-file Democrats. House leaders this week delayed a vote on a health package until the first week of November at the earliest.

By Lori Montgomery  |  October 16, 2009; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , House  | Tags: congressional budget office, health-care, obama, reform  
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Comments

this still leaves 15,000,000 - 20,000,000 uninsured (95%)...

and where will they go for care? the emergency rooms....increasing cost for everyone....

....and that's NOT counting illegal aliens of 15,000,000...

good plan? how would they know(?) when they don't read them...

Posted by: analgesic33 | October 16, 2009 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Yet they are still not talking about competition and they are saying WE NEED TO BUY INTO THE ALREADY RIGGED INSURANCE MARKET that is screwing us all now.

Public OPtion, SIngle payer, more choice, less profits over patients.

Seems simple if Congress wasn't so eager to protect corporate interests over the AMERICAN PEOPLE - tax the banks and those Wall street idiots who are once again raking in the cha-ching while screwing us yet again. Remove anti-trust laws from health insurance.

Posted by: kare1 | October 16, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

How many times has Pelosi been quoted as saying "I have the votes?" Obviously, she's never had the votes, and she doesn't have the votes now. Her rival for the Speakership next cycle, Steny Hoyer, recently said the vote in the House might not come until "after Christmas."

Every day that Americans become more familiar with the intended and potential unintended consequences of this takeover of 1/6 of our economy, they grow more skeptical. Every time Pelosi appears on TV with that fish eyed stare, she becomes less believable. Her lack of crdibility feeds those who doubt the House Democrats ability to pass anything of benefit to the country.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 16, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought we should have a "public option" in the form of low-cost, clinic-based outpatient care and hospitals that have wards rather than private rooms -- and that you'd need to sign away some of your "rights" to huge malpractice claims if you used this safety-net system.

Naturally, many Americans -- probably a large majority -- would prefer health care closer to what they have now, so there would be plenty of room for private health insurance companies and private providers to compete.

The one thing that gripes me about all the current health care arguments is how little energy is going into improving health care efficiency and lowering costs. I own a desktop computer worth about $800 that is more powerful than a 1980s-era $5 million supercomputer. Where are the low-cost, automated lab tests? Where are the computer-aided imaging interpreters that make radiologists more productive? Where are the... well, it could be a long list. What scares me most is that a lot of these things *are* being developed, but the cost savings they create are making the rich richer instead of lowering end-user prices.

Private industry has totally dropped the ball on health care cost control, except for a few bright lights like Wal-Mart's $4/month generic prescription program, which has been imitated by Walgreen's, CVS, and other competitors.

I am all for private industry when companies (and in this case, doctors and hospitals) compete with each other. Some of the Republican ideas are right on, including health insurance competition across state lines and co-operative health care buying groups for small businesses and individually-insured people.

What puzzles me is that, aside from not stressing more efficient medical are over the method of payment, so many Republicans and even so-called "moderate Democrats" (better to call them DINOs) would rather find expensive ER treatment instead of building a sustainable system for caring for our low-income fellor citizens. Crazy.

Posted by: roblimo | October 16, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought we should have a "public option" in the form of low-cost, clinic-based outpatient care and hospitals that have wards rather than private rooms -- and that you'd need to sign away some of your "rights" to huge malpractice claims if you used this safety-net system.

Naturally, many Americans -- probably a large majority -- would prefer health care closer to what they have now, so there would be plenty of room for private health insurance companies and private providers to compete.

The one thing that gripes me about all the current health care arguments is how little energy is going into improving health care efficiency and lowering costs. I own a desktop computer worth about $800 that is more powerful than a 1980s-era $5 million supercomputer. Where are the low-cost, automated lab tests? Where are the computer-aided imaging interpreters that make radiologists more productive? Where are the... well, it could be a long list. What scares me most is that a lot of these things *are* being developed, but the cost savings they create are making the rich richer instead of lowering end-user prices.

Private industry has totally dropped the ball on health care cost control, except for a few bright lights like Wal-Mart's $4/month generic prescription program, which has been imitated by Walgreen's, CVS, and other competitors.

I am all for private industry when companies (and in this case, doctors and hospitals) compete with each other. Some of the Republican ideas are right on, including health insurance competition across state lines and co-operative health care buying groups for small businesses and individually-insured people.

What puzzles me is that, aside from not stressing more efficient medical care over the method of payment, so many Republicans and even so-called "moderate Democrats" (better to call them DINOs) would rather find expensive ER treatment instead of building a sustainable system to care for our fellow Americans who have fallen on hard times, in many cases because of the actions of our richest and greediest citizens.

Posted by: roblimo | October 16, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

roblimo- I don't know your profession but you are ill-informed if you think we need wards. My nurse training was in such a hospital before infection control realized the high risks in such places for infection to spread. We do NOT need those again, regardless of cost. As a point of fact, such places would ultimately again raise the cost with the spread of infection. Additionally, cardiac and other patients cannot get adequate rest with which to recover in such places - they are incredibly noisy 24/7. You might want to get a few more facts before you continue with such ideas.

Posted by: nana1ellen | October 16, 2009 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Health Insurance Story: My son, with a small business health insurance plan, paid $385/month for him and his wife. Both are young and healthy. Humana just raised their rates by $700/month to cover their new healthy baby. The policies carry a high deductable.

Now, the Grandparents fully realize the sad state of the American health care system and also realize that Medicare For All is the only way to go! We were fortunate in working for governments that provided good health care benefits for most of our lives. Our children face a different America......

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | October 16, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Health Insurance Story: My son, with a small business health insurance plan, paid $385/month for him and his wife. Both are young and healthy. Humana just raised their rates by $700/month to cover their new healthy baby. The policies carry a high deductable.

Now, the Grandparents fully realize the sad state of the American health care system and also realize that Medicare For All is the only way to go! We were fortunate in working for governments that provided good health care benefits for most of our lives. Our children face a different America......

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | October 16, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

The CBO numbers simply do not add up. The costs has to be at least 2-3 times greater than these estimates. Someone is 'cooking the books' and the taxpayer is going to get slammed big time for this fiasco.

To be really simple so that even Congress and the White House can understand it---the American should be provided at the same premium cost,$550 per year, that ALL members of Congress and their families receive at taxpayer expense. No more, no less.

Posted by: KBlit | October 16, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

$905,000,000,000.00. That is close to a $1,000,000,000,000.00 that we don't have, and will be made up by TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, and more TAXES.

They will tax Businesses, and the working class citizens that buy from those businesses. They will raise taxes of any kind possible both indirect and direct on the Working Class American Citizen.

When you food costs, heating bills, and costs of all goods in general go up due to increased taxation, and you are fearing for your Job, remember who caused it. Barack Hussein Obama, and the Liberal Extremist Democrat Leadership, and the irresponsible Big Spending Republicans that acted like liberal democrats in the last Administration.

They are saying we are in a recovery. Well we are no where near a recovery until you have several months of sustained Job Creation and continual lowering unemployment roles.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR TAXES TO BE IMPLEMENTED ON THE WORKING CLASS CITIZENS OF THE NATION.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | October 16, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

At present, congressional approval is approximately 26% -- meaning that approximately 74% have an unfavorable view of the US Congress. One could deduce from this that approximately 74% of the population has a problem of 'trust', 'confidence, and respect for the collective judgment of this body. Those perceptions are only increased when 'closed door' tactics are used in developing policies that will affect 300,000,000 + people.

WHAT HAS THE CONGRESS DONE TO GARNER TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN THEIR DECISION MAKING ABILITIES -- OR, LACK THEREOF?? They think that the can skate by 2010. They may be badly mistaken.

Have some friends who are 'seniors', who were very vocal supporters of President Obama a year ago. Their comments of the Administration today are not printable.

Posted by: wheeljc | October 16, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Washington Post not reporting on Harry Reid's additional $250,000,000,000.00 bill to pay doctors?

Harry Reid is forcing a vote today even though there is no provision, except printing The People's money, to pay for it.

What sordid deal did the AMA make with Obama and why do The People not know about it?

What other deals have been made? Considering 95% of Democrat campaign funds come from trial lawyers, did Obama make a deal to exclude tort reform?

That puts this health care bill cost well over $1,000,000,000,000.00 and our "free press" is keeping it quiet.

Where does Obama stand on adding $250,000,000,000.00 of unsecured debt? He clearly stated this health care bill would not add to the national debt yet he remains quiet.

Where's the transparency Obama promised?

There is a crime in progress and The People have many questions.

Didn't the last monarchy that tried to rob their people lose some heads?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | October 16, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Banks are closing credit cards for apparent reason when the holiday season is approching. I regularly make $200-$300 per month payments to Shell Citi Mastercard and it was simply closed without prior notice having only a low balance ! It was traumatic. This is the fourth time Bank is closing credit card without notice and no apparent reason.

Posted by: venu1_venu1 | October 16, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Banks are closing credit cards for apparent reason when the holiday season is approching. I regularly make $200-$300 a month payment to Shell Citi Mastercard and it was simply closed with a low balance ! It was traumatic. This is the fourth time Bank is closing credit card without having no apparent good reason.

Posted by: venu1_venu1 | October 16, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

House leaders have been working to lower the cost of the $1.2 trillion health-care package they offered in July.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
What the Post fails to mention is the Congress has yet to give the GAO all the information it needs to make a complete assesment of the plan. Furthermore, the crafters of the these bills have back ended the costliest parts of the plan past 2013, so that GAO a assesment would come below a trillion dollars.

Posted by: moebius22 | October 16, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

roblimo wrote>>>>Some of the Republican ideas are right on, including health insurance competition across state lines

This seems to be another Repub idea solely intended to incite because.... there is NO FEDERAL LAW preventing Insurance companies from "crossing State lines." That's up to the State legislators, governors, etc.

Florida is the most competitive, but some States allow ONE Insurance company to control 80-90% of the insured.

Repubs usually prefer State control over Federal control - so why aren't they going after the States on this issue? Perhaps it's just easier for Repubs to attack "the government"?

Posted by: angie12106 | October 16, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

"puts the cost of one plan at $859 billion over the next decade and the other at $905 billion."

What are the plans? Energy and Commerce? Ways and Means? Ed and Labor? Proposed compromises? How about reporting.

Posted by: oldwiseman | October 16, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Lets face it folks - NOTHING in this administration gets cheaper. This bunch is making Bush look cheap.

Posted by: birvin9999 | October 16, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Two Trillion is Harry Reid's target cost. But the WAPO insists on pushing the inane lowball 900B cost to placate the sheeple. Great job, WAPO! The Big Lie being solidly propogated while dilligent investigative research/journalism goes by the wayside. Well, consistency has its merits, too.

Posted by: MDDem1 | October 16, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

This is good news for the House that at least it met $900 billion criteria. However, does it bend the cost curve?

Posted by: maritza1 | October 16, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone actually believe that this Congress and all the subsequent ones will not balloon this bill into the tens of Trillions?

Any healthcare bill passed in any form of this scope and size is only meant for one thing regardless of your beliefs... Wasteful spending

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | October 16, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Lori, you stated it correctly
"The cheaper version would rely heavily on a more dramatic expansion of Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor that is funded partly by the states -- meaning already-strapped governors would have to pick up more of the cost of reform."

The CBO numbers are talking the Federal portion and don't include the State shares of Medicaid. Although somewhat dated, in 2004 Michigan paid 20% of its budget on Medicaid. I can olny imagine this numbe has gone up. Yes the Federal cost may be under $1 Trillion, but what happens to the States. Many of which are required by law to have balanced budgets. No one seems to address this. Another UNFUNDED MANDATE to the States. Thanks Congress.??

Posted by: rhino2 | October 16, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

All of these numbers are fradulent. In the first case you are comparing 10 years of revenue vrs 7 years of expense. The numbers assume a $500 billion cut in Medicare. Who believes that will occur? And they ignore the fact that in a sperate bill the Senate just approved a $200 billion 10 year increase in Mediare reimbursement rates. And I suspect a more knowledgeable person could point out numerous other flaws in these numbers.

Posted by: jdonner2 | October 16, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The government setting limits on what they'll spend for people's lives is just as bad as the private health insurers setting maximum dollar limits on their policies.

Do we really want the government or private inddustry telling us how much we are worth? I think not!

Posted by: Maddogg | October 16, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

More B.S. engineered by the #$%@#$% corrupt democrats.

I used to think the CBO was impartial, but no more. Hanging "costs" on conceptual plans is totally dishonest, but who believes the democrat POSs have any ehtics or integrity any more. Not me.

Posted by: LarryG62 | October 16, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

KBlit,

You say the numbers don't add up, but you have no clue -- do you?

All the bills are being scored, and there are only a few factors to take into account:
- How many get coverage,
- How much subsidies are per person,
- How much the bill cuts into existing costs,
- How much the bill depresses the costs for the newly covered folks.

The house bill covers more, and gives more subsidies (for affordibility.) However, they cut into existing costs (medicare reimbursement rates), and do a good job (with public option) of depressing costs for the newly covered folks.

The total outcome is on par with the Senate Finance bill. I'm not sure that 'don't add up'. In fact, two factors cause higher costs, and two cause lower costs, and the end result is slightly more expensive.

If you choose to help drugmakers and ins companies over the working poor -- just say that!

Or, is just partisan complaining? You don't trust democrats, because they aren't as honest as bush was? (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes.)

Posted by: rat-raceparent | October 16, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Maddog,

You say "The government setting limits on what they'll spend for people's lives is just as bad as the private health insurers setting maximum dollar limits on their policies."

I agree, the private health insurers limits are basically death sentences. But, the gov is not setting any such limit. In fact, they are making those limits illegal.

You are right on the idea, but wrong on what is in the bill. That is simply not in the bill.

Posted by: rat-raceparent | October 16, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

NO ONE WITH A BRAIN BELIEVES CBO, MESSIAH, COMMIE-CRATS


CBO -- same group that claims medical-malpractice LEECHES have only a small impact on medical costs.

Sure -- and no Fortune 500 employee has HAD to go a legal-defensive seminar. To defend against LEECH-LAWYERS like SLICK JOHN EDWARDS.

Gimme a f'ing break. Only a fool would believe the CEO.


START OVER -- MESSIAH IS A SCREW-UP.

Posted by: russpoter | October 16, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Gee, isn't that special. Congress can take some credit for keeping the deficit down by shifting costs to the states, the private sector, and the citizens.

Who does this serve? The next political campaign?

The effect of the public option in this case is exactly what people should be worried about -- forcing reimbursement rates to artificially low levels so more of the true cost burden will be shifted to the people with private insurance. Keep that up and, bingo, we have single-payer coverage.

What's wrong with that? Well, if nothing else, there would be no checks and balances between coverage options, prices, and treatment options. This would become a political process and not an enterprise process.

Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.

Posted by: DOps | October 16, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

DOps wrote:

Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.
--------------------------------------
Ditto!

Posted by: JAH3 | October 16, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

By time the programs are started, they will be over the $1.2 bn mark.

I refuse to get insurance because I don't do doctors. So, I'll probely be in jail.

Posted by: riain | October 16, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

When the CBO predicts a large federal deficit, every conservative, Republican, and Obama basher treats the CBO as an authoritative nonpartisan source (which it is) and goes to town blaming the White House--conveniently forgetting the last eight years, of course, including their own involvement in supporting the Bush policies.

When the CBO says the health plans do what they were painstakingly crafted to do, over many months of work, which is to stay within certain cost limits and avoid adding to the deficit, suddenly they are completely unreliable, fraudulent, corrupt, and on and on.

How can anyone take the Party of No seriously? You stayed out of the hard work of actually helping to solve a huge fiscal and social crisis that has been building up for decades to this point. Now all you have left are spitballs, namecalling, and insults. Pathetic.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | October 16, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Obamacare=Reparations by another name.

Posted by: tjhall1 | October 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The $859BB is window dressing. It does not include the nearly $1.2TT in additional taxes, penalties, reductions to Medicare, medical salary reductions and other charges that the American people would have to pay.

That makes the bill closer to $2TT than the advertised $859BB.

Posted by: mike85 | October 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

dont believe it - nothing the government does ever gets cheaper.
if the dems pass this its the last of them.
if obama signs it - its the last of him.
next year we vote all the dems out and then impeach obama and biden.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | October 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Yeah right and I'll sell you a nice bridge in NYC.

Posted by: affirmativeactionpresident | October 16, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Friday, October 16, 2009
UPMC announced today that UPMC Braddock will cease operations on January 31, 2010. Clinical operations at UPMC Braddock will begin shifting to other UPMC facilities next month.

It was losing too much money. It's doubtful that pumping more money into it would reduce the losses. Maybe it will be sold. The federal government could buy it and reopen it. They will be managing losses, because if UPMC could not make it run, it can't be made to run.

Posted by: Dermitt | October 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I love how Republicans on this board proudly touted CBO studies earlier this summer, but now accuse the CBO of cooking the books when they say something you don't like. You wingnuts are nothing if not funny!

Golly gee...imagine that. Insuring more for less, just like the rest of the western world already does.

Posted by: Nosh1 | October 16, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it convenient that the CBO finds that one of the plans falls into Obamas limit? After how much "number crunching" and "book cooking"? In the end it will still cost tax payers far more than the current system, and will erode freedom in that people who do not need or want health care insurance, will be forced, Un-Constitutionally to buy it. In recent days, I called Max Baucus to ask about his bill and it's effect on various parts of the public to see what effect it will have on them. According to Baucus's office, Veterans will "not be affected in any way", as a veteran, I will wait to see. Since veterans get TRICARE and/or VA coverage (which by law do not pay the entire bill) we nave to get TRICARE supplements, aka "private insurance". When Obama care shakes down the private insurance indistry I will be interested to see just home much my TRICARE supplements do not change?

Posted by: jonweiss1 | October 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"When you food costs, heating bills, and costs of all goods in general go up due to increased taxation, and you are fearing for your Job, remember who caused it."

Indeed: three decades of abject Republican negligence, deregulatory largess, and tax cuts for people who wake up every morning trying to ship middle class jobs overseas or import cheap labor to fill them here.

You lost the election. We tried it your way since Reagan began dismembering the middle class limb by limb. Now, you're going to try it our way.

Posted by: trippin | October 16, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Why sure, Lori! The cost is just dropping like a rock! Why, by the time it gets to reconciliation, it will be free! In fact, it's going to be so good, it will start MAKING MONEY! In fact, , shortly after the 2012 elections, every one of us is going to be millionaires and if we're independent swing voters, we're going to go to heaven! AIDS in Africa will be a thing of the past and IT WON'T COST A DIME! Don't you just love the Washington Post journalism that got GENE ROBINSON a Pulitzer Prize? We hear Gene is going to be up for the Nobel next year. Sorry, Lori, you'll have to wait. Maybe if you start damning Rush Limbaugh to Hell, you can get yours a little earlier.

Posted by: chatard | October 16, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Why sure, Lori! The cost is just dropping like a rock! Why, by the time it gets to reconciliation, it will be free! In fact, it's going to be so good, it will start MAKING MONEY! In fact, , shortly after the 2012 elections, every one of us is going to be millionaires and if we're independent swing voters, we're going to go to heaven! AIDS in Africa will be a thing of the past and IT WON'T COST A DIME! Don't you just love the Washington Post journalism that got GENE ROBINSON a Pulitzer Prize? We hear Gene is going to be up for the Nobel next year. Sorry, Lori, you'll have to wait. Maybe if you start damning Rush Limbaugh to Hell, you can get yours a little earlier.

Posted by: chatard | October 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Nosh1-
Thanks for saying what we're all thinking. You might also mention that no one making comments here has the slightest idea what the CBO does to get its numbers and that it's an ESTIMATE by everyone's admission. But hey, if Obama came out against gay marriage, most of these suckers would be for it the next day. Fighting tooth and nail against your best interests when you have zero knowledge of the situation is job #1 for these folks.
It's not whether or not the sky is blue, it's who said the sky is blue that determines the stand these tinfoilers take. The ironic thing is how often they'll call everyone else "sheeple" and the like, right after spewing dubious propaganda from bogus sources to bolster the erroneous opinions they developed by listening to liars.

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | October 16, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Kare1,

The Democrats just put out a statement last night that they are going to try and end the anti-trust exemption for health care providers. The Dems are trying to do the right thing, they are giving people subsidies to buy insurance, offering a public plan for people/companies to shift to, and are trying to make it possible for more companies to get into the field. To me I think this is a good idea all around.

P.S. I'm with you on taking money back from the banks. Remember though, the government has a deal in place to be reimbursed plus interest from the bailout, so we should get lots back in the next 2-3 years.

Posted by: Kman23 | October 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The main show, as all the players know, is not a "public option" but where the money comes from. It unlikely to be a tax on "gold-plated" health care as proposed by Baucus morons.

No CBO report on health care states its assumptions or explains its models. They would all be unacceptable in any professional economics forum or journal. Dr. Elmendorf's performance is raising doubts about his competence for his current job.

Posted by: AppDev | October 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The cost of Healthcare bill falls?

That is contingent on a lot of assumptions. First, Baucus assumes that employers who drop coverage at a meager $400 penalty per employee are going to compensate the employee by raising taxable wages in the same amount as the untaxed dropped coverage. Baucus needs this increased compensating pay to generate $80+ billion in income taxes on the assumed increase in wages.

To think that employers are going to robotically increase pay equal the value of the coverage they eliminated on their employees is a stretch. But without this $80 billion in new income tax, Baucus is an instant defict. Surprise.

CBO estimates that revenues will increase by 10-15% per year after 2019 due to the excise tax imposed by Baucus on expensive private insurance plans. You can't increase something by taxing it. Expensive plans will go away because of the tax. Another bad assumption.

Under Baucus, $500 billion in new taxes would be levied on insurers. To think that insurers will not pass these increased costs through to their customers in the form of higher premiums is another bad assumption of Baucus. Such will increase, not decrease the cost of healthcare insurance.

Baucus off loads a substantial portion of Medicaid expenses now paid by the federal government onto the states to help pay for this bill. Such will force the states (think your state income tax) to pay more for Medicaid. Residents will find their state income taxes rise or services cut to pay for the increased Medicaid obligations.

Baucus cuts payments to doctors by 25% who treat seniors under Medicare. The savings of billions is also slated to help pay for this healthcare bill. Furthermore these cuts are made permanent, with no increase for future inflation allowed. How many doctors does anyone think will be willing to continue to treat seniors in the future. How long will it be before a sympathetic congress on either party will enact more money for Medicare, even rescinding this part of Baucus and therebye wiping out that revenue that Baucus counted on to avoid deficits. Another bad assumption.

In 1970, House Ways & Means estimated 1990 Medicare costs at $12 billion. Twenty years later when 1990 arrived, Medicare spent $110 billion, or nine times the projection. The bad assumptions of Baucus are leading us to the same unpleasant surprise that Medicare found in 1990.

As acknowledged by CBO, its only saving grace will be that this messy Baucus bill will its iffy assumptions will be cheaper than a public option, even as it plays out by creating huge deficits with poorer coverage.

Posted by: reginacoeli | October 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Included in the Baucus HC bill is a provision quietly negotiated by Harry Reid, D-Nevada, which applies a formula to states which would allow them to avoid the off loading by the federal government of some Medicaid expense.

The formula exempts four states so far from paying any of the new Medicaid expenses being off loaded by the federal government that will help keep Baucus from incurring a deficit. The four states are: Michigan, Oregon, New Mexico, and, you guess it..........Nevada!

Posted by: reginacoeli | October 16, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

HEALTHCARE REFORM Presents this Nation with with 21st Century Economic Growth Opprtunity like what the Inter-State did many Years ago.

The Investments in the Inter-State Highways, in the past, Increased Productivity, and our GDP.

For decades, Microsoft's Desktop Applications have Increased Productivity, Efficiency, and Costs Savings in the Work Place.

Proper Deeployment of Health information Technology (HIT) Solutions, and Training can Incrreased Prooductiviity (i, e, medical data mining, risks treatment, service delivery), Efficiency (i, e., medical errors, redundant and inappropriate care), and Costs Savings of around 20-30% of our Annual National Healthcare Expenditures ($2.4 Trillions).

We can start by Deploying a pure Packet-based, All Optical/IP, multi-Service National Transport Network Infrastructure, using Ethernet throughout this National "Network of Networks."

The Next Generation National All Optical/Ip Network Infrastructure can Connect all Optical Islands, Nationwide.

Some of the Benefits of type of Investments is that It can Serve as a Business Driver for: e-Healthcare, e-Commerce, e-Education, Energy Systems, Transportation systems, Social Networking, Entertainment, etc.

Please See: www.gkquoquoi.blogspot.com for Summary Deployment Plan for the Nationwide Health Information network (NHIN).

Gadema korboi Quoquoi
President & CEO
COMPULINE INTERNATIONAL, INC.

Posted by: gadema | October 16, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's do it for even LESS money.

Single Payer Health Care.

That would drive costs down even further.

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 16, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. Just a few weeks ago the CBO was carefully explaining how any such healthcare bill would break the bank. In less than 3 weeks they have completely reversed themselves. I have never know any government agency capable of such outstanding research in such a short time. Maybe Pelosi, Reid, and Waxman have been over or sent the SEIU over to make sure the CBO remembers who they work for and that if they want to keep working they should "research and determine" cost that more closely resembel what the Messiah Obama wants. Do you think? Truefully, how manytimes have you seen a government agency complete a study in less than 1 or 2 years. Obama wrote down a number on a piece of new White House sationery, handed it to Pelosi and amazingly the CBO comes up with a new number. And OBTW, it also confirms all the savings that will be gained from improving Medicare (why haven't they fixed Medicare if they know how????) This is a big con and you are a member of the Rivertown Band if you don't believe any differently.

Posted by: staterighter | October 16, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

THANK ALL YOU FOOLS WHO VOTED FOR THIS HALF A$$ HONKEY IDIOT! WHEN YOUR MOM MOM ARE POP NEEDS A OPERATION AND IS TOLD THEY ARE TO DAMN OLD AN DIE I BET YOU WILL SURE BE PROUD OF YOURSELFS THEN!

Posted by: mtins65 | October 16, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I DID NOT KNOW THAT WHITE PEOPLE COULD BE SO DAMN STUPID AN TO LAZY TO WORK FOR WHAT THEY NEED!

Posted by: mtins65 | October 16, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

With Obama insisting any health care bill not cost over $90o billion over ten years or add to budget deficits, any legislation enacted seems increasingly less likely to be true health care reform. Obama and Democrats are squandering a once in forty or fifty year opportunity to pass comprehensive, genuine health care legislation, not the incremental improvements financed on the backs of senior citizens they support.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | October 16, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

We need a good sized "War Tax" with the excess going to pay for universal single-payer health care.

Posted by: Maddogg | October 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The only real health-care reform there can be is to extend to all American's the identical health care benefits members of Congress have on a single-payer basis, funded by a general business tax.

Anything other is just a shell game!

Posted by: Maddogg | October 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama is planting time-bombs in the economy, the devastating effects of which we won't see immediately. His outrageous debt, and the break-the-bank entitlements he is planning, will destroy our economy for a generation.

Posted by: pgr88 | October 16, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Plans costing over $800 billion? This destruction of healthcare and permanent monopoly of insurance companies + govt regulators should be opposed on its premise, not on whether it saved 20 billion here or there.

Posted by: NoWeCant | October 16, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

kare1 - Both plans include a Public Option. The article called them government run insurance plans.

clandestinetomcat - Because this article is about the House, not the Senate.

oldwiseman - This is not an article about the different versions passed by the different committees. If you remember, the house was combining the three committees bills into one. Pelosi decided to make three versions of the same bill, one extremely liberal, one moderate, and one conservative and submit all three to the CBO for cost analysis. This article is about two of those three bills.

birvin9999 - You think they're making Bush look cheap? Most of the spending done by Bush came in the form of hidden costs in his budgets and the almost monthly increase in spending for war. This administration is being upfront about costs. Oh, and this bill is actually for Americans.

Posted by: MissRed | October 16, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

And, if "The Plan" does not work, and the Middle Class end up paying more for Heath Care AND higher taxes, how do we get back to square one?

I CANNOT afford to pay more health related expenses than I am paying now.

I CANNOT afford to pay more taxes than I am paying now.

I will gladly approve what congress proposes PROVIDED they reimburse me and my family if they happen to have it wrong.

Outside of this, no dice.

Posted by: primegrop | October 16, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Most American's don't know the the US taxpayer is paying for single-payer health care for the Iraqi citizens. Accordingly, the amount we spend on Iraqi's takes away from the health care of our own citizens. ROFLMAO

Posted by: Maddogg | October 16, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

CBO estimates are based language in health bill and many assumptions that may hold or not; therefore, overall cost can be modified down ward.

For example, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel says the Public Option will make the private sector health insurance industry more competitive.

Does this assume that the government insurance program will be more affordable and cost less than the private health insurance while providing the same medical coverage?

Will the government program pay medical providers less and set price rates on medical procedures?

Will the government make health insurance more affordable medical coverage that pays doctors less and curtails medical treatment?

The Obama Democrat are using every method they can to legislate national health care for everyone. They confuse the issue with several contradictory bills, then form a Senate panel for a compromise, and then merge bills behind closed doors to get what the want by disguise. To top it off, the will use Mr. Persuasion & Charm Rahm to force a closure on the deal.

It all reeks of the stench of unscrupulous politics to power the way for Obama Democrats to achieve left-wing liberal agendas by manipulation and misuse of government authority against the best interests of the American people.

Posted by: klausdmk | October 16, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

US Taxpayers fund Iraqi health care system construction. Billions and billions spent.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1525537141.html

Posted by: Maddogg | October 16, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

http://zfacts.com/p/938.html

Bush funneled hundreds of billions into Iraq reconstruction, but said American's do not need better health care.

American's health care squandered in Iraq.

Posted by: Maddogg | October 16, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I want a refund from Iraq.

They owe me 6 trillion.

NOW.

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 16, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Just watching that FOOL GLen Beck.

Beck is stating he wants to do away take the insurance benefits away from his employees and give them a whopping $5000 a year to PAY FOR ALL THEIR HEALTHCARE.

He is also stating the ideal of self-responsibility - good I guess, but he then says he has THE BEST INSURANCE THAT COVERS HIM AND HIS FAMILY COMPLETELY (he also says that he has a chronically sick child)

Question for Glen Beck and all the res of you?

Show me one family insurance policy in the US today that would cover a family with one or more chronically ill family members for $5000 a year.

THought so - Basically Beck is saying I ( my chronically ill child) HAVE MY WONDERFUL ALL COMPREHENSIVE insurance - but
For my employees SCREW YOU


All I want is to get a competive rate and CHOICE.

My employer sent out our new plans for next year (NO CHOICE FOR US) The premium is going up 23% (to $675/month). They will no longer cover my wife or children. I have a deductible double of prior years of $5000. Prescriptions are no longer covered. No eye or vision. We pay out of pocket for visiting the doctor. We also pay 40% of inpatient services.

And the final straw - Any condition that I have had prior to Jan 1 is considered pre-existing - even though I have had the same plan for the past 10 years - doesn't matter - EVERYTHING Is pre-existing.
I can take the offer to purchase my wife and two children at full rate - $1525/month

So my costs for health insurance premiuns, medications, co-pays etc will be over $32,000. (My child has one very expensive medications for her chronic condition)

That is over 42% of my net income.

Now add in mortgage, food, utilities, car/gas, clothes,not to mention insurance for house, car, life and THERE IS NO MONEY LEFT FOR
College Fund
Hint of a vacation
EMERGENCIES

Ridiculous.

What it is coming down to is I think this is what RepublicanTs and many Democrats - THEY JUST DON"T CARE

Everyone has theirs (by being either rich, poor or old OR IN CONGRESS)
Screw everyone else

I think I will wait for them to come after me for the penalty- that way I can go to jail and get free healthcare, and my family would be poor enough then to get government programs.

Posted by: kare1 | October 16, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

In their estimates, the CBO refuses to count any savings from working smarter. If it's done right, savings from tightening up the system and using modern technology should be huge, but because there's no way to put your finger on quantity, the CBO can't count it. But the CBO proceeds as though none of those savings will happen.
Another factor is that if the health reform measure is successful in creating real competition in the industry, families will save on premiums and out of pocket expenses. Again, the CBO doesn't count that. It's as though the CBO considers household finances paid to the healthcare industry irrelevant to healthcare costs.

Posted by: jcf872 | October 16, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that Americans are the most easily fooled people in the world. The explanation given was “American exceptionalism”, the attitude that America will always emerge stronger from any crisis.

Well, my explanation is simpler: ignorance. To resist being fooled by a slick con artist like Obama, all a person needs is an introduction to logic, followed by an intense study of economics.

Obama indulges in logical fallacies. Take for example his attack on the insurance companies for opposing Obamacare. He accuses them of a campaign of “misinformation” and chastises them for holding up health care reform. Yet he offers no facts to rebut the insurers; he simple insists that he is right and his opponents are wrong. As far as the insurers holding up health care reform, he assumes that his plan is better simply because it is new. Once again, he offers no facts to defend his position.

It is the economics of Obamacare that really undermines his credibility. He claims it will save us money, yet it is laced with tax increases, penalties, and subsidies for low income people. Part of the savings are to come from cuts to Medicare, but then he denies that this will increase costs to Medicare recipients! Any real cost savings, such as tort reform, increasing competition by allowing shopping in other states or giving tax credits to individuals, are excluded from the bill.

The real truth of Obamacare is simple: it is just another scheme for redistributing wealth. That is Obama’s trademark. Most of the middle class will be hit with much higher premiums and/or taxes, and will get worse service. But Obama figures he can con enough of these ignoramuses to avoid a large scale uprising.

Posted by: JacksonBentley | October 17, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Why do people fail to realize that this is not $900 billion of new spending? With or without healthcare reform we will pay this money for healthcare. The difference is that under these proposals the money can be used to provide health care. Under the current system it is used to provide huge profits for the insurance companies, who make their money by denying coverage. The current recession is causing many to lose COBRA benefits due to exteneded unemployment, or their former employers bankruptcy or discontinutation of their health plans. Wait until you find out how much the insurance companies are prepared to rape you for, without COBRA protection. I currently pay over $16,0000 a year for an individual blue cross policy. And there are lots of deductibles, copays and maximums after that. I am fortunate, I can afford it, but not many could.

Posted by: kmar20009 | October 17, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

We may have issues with insurance companies, hospitals and doctors, but that does not mean we want the criminal Obamacare scam, no matter what Orwellian name they use to better manipulate us with!

Under the one-payer system (socialized medicine) that Obama and his accomplices plan for us sooner or later, doctors will be working for the government, following government’s orders.

Who in the government? Obama’s Health Care Czar Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel? Dr. Emanuel (also called Dr. Death) has said that “Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

If doctors report to Dr. Emanuel, they will have to refuse medical care to the elderly and the handicapped because they are “irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

Obama and his Czars, including Science Czar John Holdren, seem to share Dr. Emanuel’s thinking. As a Senator, Obama voted in favor of abortion and infanticide (late-term abortion). And Science Czar John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls.

We DO NOT want Obama and his ACORN and Marxist accomplices to “take care of us.” We would be safer in the hands of the mafia!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | October 18, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

You are right, JacksonBentley. We all want to IMPROVE our health care system. Obamacare, however, has NOTHING to do with improving our health care system. It's just another power grab, another criminal scam that will further destroy our health care, destroy our economy, steal money from our children and grandchildren, multiply our deficit, and enslave us through lies, manipulation, intimidation and coercion.

Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama wants to nationalize everything, including our health care system! "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.
http://www.hacer.org/report/2009/06/us-obamas-red-chorus-investors-business.html

Fortunately, as we can see in the town halls and marches, most Americans have NOT been dumbed down. Most Americans DO NOT WANT to put the power of life and death in Obama’s ACORN-type bureaucracy. They will do whatever necessary to defend themselves, their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obamacare and socialism/communism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | October 18, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Neither plan offers the American public the option of Competition. A Government plan that competes with the private sector is no option. Congress has a monoply on creating laws and once enacted the inevitable conclusion is that the Government plan will be only option for the vast majority of all citizens. Much like our educational system, only the rich will be able to afford a private medical treatment regiment. For all our Congresses great intentions the poor will be forced to accept a government run program which will keep them out of the market for quality yet costly health care.
I recieve some of the worlds best health care as a military member through TRI care, the DoD equivilant to public health care, but the differnece is that when I need specialized care, the system sends me into the private sector to meet the needs that are beyond the governments capability or abilty to provide. Only the private sector can deliver the quality of services, at an expensive but attainable price. Having only plans that create a government compettion with private industy will destroy the ability of poor people to ever have access to private care.

Posted by: cscott7 | October 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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