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CBO: Senate health plan will increase some premiums -- and expand coverage

Updated 3:40 p.m.
By Lori Montgomery
The Senate's plan to overhaul the health insurance system would increase premiums in the individual market, but purchasers would get better coverage than under current law and six in 10 would see their premium payments reduced by new federal subsidies, congressional budget analysts said Monday.

The impact of the legislation would be much less dramatic on most people, who receive coverage through their jobs, according to Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Such people's premiums would be unchanged or slightly lower once insurance reforms proposed under the Senate plan were fully implemented, Elmendorf wrote in response to a request from Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).

The letter was released hours before the Senate is expected to open debate on the $848 billion health package crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). Bayh and other centrist Democrats are deeply concerned about its impact on the cost of health care for the government and for individuals, who would be required for the first time to obtain coverage starting in 2014.

The CBO report offers the first detailed analysis of those effects, which would fall most heavily on the relatively small individual market, where people who do not have access to affordable coverage from an employer purchase insurance directly from insurance companies.

By 2016, two years after the Senate reforms are to take effect, the CBO projected that premiums for 32 million people in that market would be driven as much as 30 percent higher because insurance companies would be required to offer better coverage than they do now. But that increase would be partially offset by lower costs for insurers, who would have access to a new pool of younger, healthier customers who might previously have gone without insurance.

The result: Nongroup premiums on average would increase by about 13 percent compared with current law, to $5,800 for individuals and $15,200 for family coverage. But the CBO predicts that 57 percent of purchasers in that market would also be receiving federal subsidies that would cover roughly two-thirds of that cost, leaving them paying 60 percent less for insurance than if the legislation were not enacted.

For the approximately 160 million people who receive coverage through their employers in the small and large group markets, the increase in coverage -- and therefore costs -- would be negligible, the CBO said. And adding younger, healthier people to the insurance pools would reduce costs only modestly, by as much as 3 percent.

Only a few people in those markets would see a significant change in the cost of their premiums, the CBO said: Approximately three million people in the small group market would be eligible for federal subsidies that would cut their premiums compared with current law by as much as 11 percent.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) hailed the CBO analysis. "The analysis we received today indicates that whether you work for a small business, a large company or you work for yourself, the vast majority of Americans will see lower premiums than they would if we don't pass health reform," he said in a statement. "Millions of Americans who are underinsured - who don't have enough coverage to prevent them from financial ruin - would be able to purchase significantly more coverage for an affordable price," thanks to the bill, he also noted.

But Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said the findings proved the bill under consideration had already failed. "At the beginning of the health care debate, we were told that this trillion-dollar experiment would lower premiums for American families.And yet just this morning, the independent Congressional Budget Office provided an analysis showing that the Democrat bill will actually increase premiums for American families.So a bill that's being sold as a way to reduce costs actually drives them up," he said in a statement.

"The bottom line is this: after 2,074 pages and trillions more in government spending, massive new taxes and a half-trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare for seniors, most people will end up paying more or seeing no significant savings. This is not what the American people are asking for. And it's certainly not reform," he said.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the former Republican presidential candidate, was expected to offer the first GOP amendment to the Senate health bill, a proposal to strip out more than $400 billion in cuts to Medicare, the popular federal health program for people over 65. If successful, the move would knock out a significant source of financing for the package, leaving it unable to meet President Obama's demand that health care not add to record deficits. If the move fails, Republicans would have forced Democrats to go on record cutting the program.

By Lori Montgomery  |  November 30, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

What's that giant hissing sound? Could it possibly be Republican rhetoric deflating?

Posted by: pv2bdrco | November 30, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I am a retired DC Government employee, me like other's recieve a pension, and our health insurance and life insurance come's out of our checks each month, just plain talk How will this effect US, just plain talk period, not all the BIG Word's, is their a pay scale that we and other's could see how it will effect EVERYONE, PERIOD, no hidden agenda, BE REAL !!!
this goes for the PRESIDENT of The United Srares Of America & CONGRESS, that's all WE ask of YOU

Posted by: onesugar1 | November 30, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

So I mistyped the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, don't hen pick, you get the message

Posted by: onesugar1 | November 30, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Why is this headline so misleading? If you misrepresent the major findings because you can't fit the nuance into five words, then expand the headline. "Senate plan would up premiums" should read "Senate plan would change how we pay for coverage, higher premiums, more incentives, lower overall costs."

Posted by: rollem | November 30, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"About half of the bill Reid unveiled Wednesday would be financed by curbs in projected Medicare spending. While providers such as home health care agencies would absorb some of that, the biggest blow would fall on private Medicare plans. Studies show the government pays about 14 percent more to cover patients enrolled in those plans than in the traditional Medicare program."

"There are also more than $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; a new $20 billion fee on medical device makers; $13 billion from limiting contributions to flexible spending accounts; sizable penalties paid by individuals and employers who don't obtain coverage; and a mix of other corporate taxes and fees."

"REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS: Individuals must have insurance, enforced through a tax penalty of 2.5 percent of income."

"It cuts $112 billion out of the Medicare Advantage program, which, as all of you know, will adversely impact the availability of these plans for over 10 million Medicare beneficiaries."

"By the way, it is interesting to note that although the tax increases and Medicare cuts will start as early as next year, subsidies to help people purchase health insurance, will not be available until July of 2013 – three and a half years later."

"$117 billion comes out of the Medicare Advantage program. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under this bill the value of additional benefits like vision care and dental care will decline from $135 to $42 by 2019. That is a reduction of more than 70 percent in extra benefits that are extremely important to beneficiaries."

Posted by: kwoods2 | November 30, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

kwoods2's propaganda post ironically shows why Medicare Advantage should be cut. 10 million Americans will lose less than 100 dollars worth of benefits. That's $1 billion a year, or $10 billion over 10 years, yet it costs the government $117 billion!!!

I know the elderly might like the kickback, but it is nothing but a scam. 90% of the money is wasted (stolen) according to the defenders of the program.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | November 30, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Coverage does not equal access.

Posted by: mellwood1 | November 30, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. Senate is now formally beginning debate on a plan to reform health care in America, but most voters remain opposed to the plan working its way through Congress.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of voters nationwide favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. Fifty-three percent (53%) are opposed to it. Those figures include 22% who Strongly Favor the plan and 40% who are Strongly Opposed.

Posted by: charlietuna6661 | November 30, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

But that's not all the Senate bill does. There's a perverse clause in it that ensures a very difficult re-election campaign for Obama: The one stipulating expanded coverage be put off till 2012 or later. This means Obama would be campaigning with an indefensible Health care reform bill on his back-given that half of America that needs that coverage now would most certainly be furious by then.

Posted by: lionelroger | November 30, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Onesugar1:
Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.

Posted by: jahoby | November 30, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

VERY misleading headline!
But watch Limbaugh and Faux News claim premiums will increase for everyone!

Posted by: angie12106 | November 30, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Onesugar1:
Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.

Posted by: jahoby | November 30, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

>>>>"It cuts $112 billion out of the Medicare Advantage program, which, as all of you know, will adversely impact the availability of these plans for over 10 million Medicare beneficiaries."

Good! Only 20% seniors have Medicare Advantage, an Insurance plan concocted by Bush and Repubs for WEALTHY seniors.
If wealthy seniors want more bells and whistles than traditional Medicare - they should pay the difference themselves!

Our family is pleased with Traditional Medicare.

Posted by: angie12106 | November 30, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah right. Cover more people, better service at less cost, and reduce the budget deficit, right?
Wrong!
I don't believe a word these lying scumbags have to say. CBO is about as honest as Clinton any more. Either one of the liars.

Posted by: LarryG62 | November 30, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hopeful9 wrote:
I know the elderly might like the kickback, but it is nothing but a scam.

____________________________________________________
I know that you have little regard by the fact that the elderly will be harmed with this health care bill.

"About half of the bill Reid unveiled Wednesday would be financed by curbs in projected Medicare spending. While providers such as home health care agencies would absorb some of that, the biggest blow would fall on private Medicare plans. Studies show the government pays about 14 percent more to cover patients enrolled in those plans than in the traditional Medicare program."

"There are also more than $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; a new $20 billion fee on medical device makers; $13 billion from limiting contributions to flexible spending accounts; sizable penalties paid by individuals and employers who don't obtain coverage; and a mix of other corporate taxes and fees."

"REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS: Individuals must have insurance, enforced through a tax penalty of 2.5 percent of income."

"It cuts $112 billion out of the Medicare Advantage program, which, as all of you know, will adversely impact the availability of these plans for over 10 million Medicare beneficiaries."

"By the way, it is interesting to note that although the tax increases and Medicare cuts will start as early as next year, subsidies to help people purchase health insurance, will not be available until July of 2013 – three and a half years later."

"$117 billion comes out of the Medicare Advantage program. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under this bill the value of additional benefits like vision care and dental care will decline from $135 to $42 by 2019. That is a reduction of more than 70 percent in extra benefits that are extremely important to beneficiaries."

Posted by: kwoods2 | November 30, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Selfish ignorant citizens elect selfish ignorant leaders. This is the best we've got folks, garbage in, garbage out." So said by the illustrious George Carlin back in 1996. So who do you believe, the clueless Democrats who just want positive press to get reelected in 2010, or the equally clueless Republicans who want to allege they are saving the citizens from wanton spending by their adversaries? I'll tell you who I believe, and that is the majority of health care providers who think this whole process being bantered in DC is a bunch of crap, but unfortunately, their silence only dooms us all. Hey America, believe me when I say this, as an actively practicing physician: this bill passes as is by the sitting bodies called Congress, you will have less invested and qualified physicians and other caring providers caring for you by 2014. So, Congress wins, and the citizens of this country lose. Now that is what I call representation!!! Third party time, eh?

Posted by: Joelhassfam4 | November 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

With all of the subsidies being doled out to lower people's premiums, please notice the article makes no mention of where the money for those subsidies comes from....

Posted by: boosterprez | November 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

My God, can't these bureacrats communicate simply and to the point?

Some premiums will go up, some will go down, incentives will be used, blah, blah blah. Confusing? Yes, probably intentionally so.

Can anyone in the CBO answer this simple questions; Will health care costs, including premiums, per capita go up or go down? Will the total national expenditure for health care be more or less than under the current system? Will health care costs per capita, whether paid for my individuals, employers or governments continue to increase at the same or greater rates or might they increase at a lower annual rate?

We have been sold this reform agenda on the basis it would cut costs and expenditures for health care. If the answers to the aforrementioned questions are it will not, let's go back to square one and start to develop a program which will.

Posted by: bobfbell | November 30, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"So I mistyped the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, don't hen pick, you get the message

Posted by: onesugar1"
---
Among several other misspells. Not to henpeck but you are representing the Federal Govt.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 30, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"Douglas Elmendorf, director of the partisan Congressional Budget Office, wrote in response to a request from Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)."
The CBO is a NON partisan entity. Check and recheck before publishing.

Posted by: info22 | November 30, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

With all the lies that this administration has been caught at along with the Senate Democrats, who is to believe this? When you look at the bill and how the numbers are back loaded you just know it is phony.

Posted by: pipian | November 30, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I just want to set the record straight. I am a 66 yr. old single, retired female on Medicare. This is how it works. I worked since I was 15 yrs old. I paid income taxes out of my salery for all of those working years. Fifty one years. During that time my taxes were taking care of the already retired people on SS and medicare. It is now my turn for the youth of America to help me for all of what I paid out of my hard work and sweat. I get no kickbacks, I don't even know what you are refering to. I have co-pays. I pay for part of my drugs. I pay out for my SS insurance. I am living on $824.00 a month. What is the matter with the people out there that deny's me help after I did my part. And I still give to charity. Bunch of snivelers and weak spined people ya think? If my hands were not crippled from all that work I would still be working. I want to thank all the young people that are holding down jobs and taking care of my needs now. I appreciate you.

Posted by: sassy4 | November 30, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

so much for so-called health care REFORM
,this would be a joke if it were not so serious
do these people understand americans cannot afford their current plans and when people are covered through their place's of employment then product costs must rise !
we need true reform that will lower costs!
yes it is possible!!
besides things such as tort reform and
checking medicare and medicade abuses
the many hospitals in my area are building and building ....it is not needed ...stop already !! no wonder hospital costs are so high !!

Posted by: cmt138 | November 30, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Forget about "costs", "Premiums", "service", etc...The real debate transcends the minutia and now the real question is: Why Is Obama & Congress Treating Americans Like Idiots on the HealthCare Debate? This is now the pertinent question that needs to be answered because it may provide a clue as to the real intentions and agenda of Obama, and portents dire consequences for America. The WP has been beaten to it by Robbing America, a respected blog at http://www.robbingamerica.blogspot.com . The premises on the healthcare debate are outrageously fake and the accounting is out of the Maddof book, and Obama and Reid-Pelosi know it. Their thesis is valid and their conclusions are shocking. Obama is, indeed, Treating Americans Like Idiots.

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | November 30, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

We are led by fools. They wish to "reform" health care by increasing demand without increasing supply?
You have to start with the foundation. More health care professionals, facilities and insurers is the starting point.
If ever there was an abject example of placing the cart before the horse, this is it.

Posted by: primegrop | November 30, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

When will you ever learn? I've just seen three different headlines, all supposedly reading the same government document, and they say three different things. First off, THEY'RE SPENDING 900 BILLION, so this whole thing is NOT FREE. Where do you liberals think the 900 BILLION is coming from? When has ANY government program lowered costs? Give me a break.

Posted by: rreis2 | November 30, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Those with coverage will pay more, get little more (if not less) and their real-live tax burden will increase to pay for the coverage of others. Expenses in the system will go up, not down-so the core point is that this is not a cost-savings project at all, it is a tax increase disguised as reform.

Posted by: pioneer1 | November 30, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Wake up People!! What we've known is coming for a long time is now about to over take us. It's time we stopped doing what we are doing and get things right. We can't just sit back and take it easy anymore. Only we can prevent it from happening. First, there was Oklahoma City, then 9/11, then Katrina. Now this. What's next? We have got to work together or it's over for our kids and all future Americans. We all know this began when Ike was elected President with help from the big European money machines who just wanted a piece of America. He got his interstate highway system and the first step was taken. JFK, RFK, MLK died and who lied about it? Everybody who knew. Nixon's daughter married Ike's grandson and we got another generation closer to the end. Carter almost blew the top off, but that rabbit did him in. 8 years of Reagan, 4 for Bush Sr., then 8 for Willie and who steps in??? That's right --- Bush, Jr. and the final key was turned. They got their man Obama in and leading the way and this is our last chance. Well, I'm not going to take it sitting down and you shouldn't either. Our kids are next and no one cares.

Posted by: bdc9977 | November 30, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

It is about WE not ME ME ME like the Repugnicans are banking on. America lags he rest of he industrialized world in health care due to all the fear mongering from the righties. Grandma will be fine and for once we can call ourselves a moral nation taking care of its citizens. Socialism they cry while riding on our government roads, getting government checks, and funding the government military to the extreme. E#vey one of those Repugnicans ges government provided cadillac plan health care. Hypocrites say I about Boehner, Mc Connel, Cantor, Sessions and the rest of the clowns led by Rush and soon Sarah. Dolts one and all in it for themselves and their health insurance industry masters. Stick to your Red Sates which are dwindling fast and furious. You are up against Women, Hispanics, African American, the higher educated duh, and the youth of our country. Obamanos!

Posted by: jbento | November 30, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Great! A Bill that doesn't just bring down premiums for the middle class, but according to the CBO raises premiums for those looking to buy insurance outside of their work place.

BRILLIANT!!

Posted by: Magox | November 30, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

psst......house and senate dems

obama is driving the dem bus over the cliff

the only question is are you going to jump out first???

the fed last week projected unemployment up to 10.2% next christmas-2010

obamacare--

its the flashing "vacancy" sign

for your seat

Posted by: ProCounsel | November 30, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Good story but misleading headline displayed on the index page. CBO says group premiums will stay about the same but non-group premiums will rise to reflect stronger coverage.

Posted by: AppDev | November 30, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

With most of America seeing less come out of every penny and people losing their homes and jobs. The stores going out of business and the ones that aren't are cutting way back. How can they think this is good for the majority of the Americans to raise another bill for each of us every month? Then to make sure everyone is covered they take away from the most needy of us all, the older American on Medicare. I have been disable and confined to a wheelchair for going on thirty years and it took me years and alot of effort to get away from government aid, (Federal & State disabilty, Medicare, Medical). People who depend on these programs don't get much to live on, I know I have been there. But to make them live on much less just to give ilegal aliens coverage is crazy. Because thats who make up the majority of the people not covered when they try and justfiy the numbers. I don't think you should reward anyone who breaks the law just because of the numbers.

Posted by: rainman2 | November 30, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The democrat idiots do not even know what is in the GD bill. There is a good reason all Americans are concerned....our leadership is a bunch of crooks who only want power. Pelosi, Reid and Obama along with Frank should probably go to jail for the atrocities they have committed with our tax dollars. Come on! 53 Billion to ACORN???? Are you kidding me?

Look at our tax code.....why can't that be fixed before we start shelling out more money to prop up useless government. Stop this bill and all other spending. Fix the tax code and do away with the IRS. Flat tax everyone with earnings...dividends, interest, real estate holdings of churches, all of it with one low income exception.

Then require those elected to manage the budget and pass a law to forbid amendments to bills where there is not a direct relation between the subject of the bill and the amendment.

Bring all military home and close all foreign bases. Use our military to secure the borders. Train and equip them to be the most deadly force on earth. If we are attacked then the response should be "scorched earth"

Send illegals and their families home and enforce immigration laws.

To sum it up, I don't give a rat's @ss about either political party..they all need to be fired and replaced with limited term citizens who do give a rat's @ss.

Posted by: bgPhil | November 30, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The CBO scores the bill based on what is presented to it. How do we know all the facts were given to CBO? Have all the deals Reid has made included? I don't trust the congress with our health care. Look at all the failed government programs. What is it that makes any of us believe this time will be different? Add to this cost savings measures the bill could have included but doesn't, and I can't help think we are about to get shafted.

Posted by: saelij | November 30, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

You have to hand it to the Dummycrats, they will stick with their convictions, even if it means they get slaughtered come the november elections.

Posted by: Magox | November 30, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

NO Govenment Crap Care...Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Democrats are not trustworthy...

NO Govenment Crap, a one way ticket to Hell.

Posted by: sophic | November 30, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I think we can safely say that by the time the next gallup or rasmussen poll comes out regarding public support for this Nightmare of a bill, that it will be just a tad bit lower than what it was last week.

Over and Under, I'm saying support will be at about 38%

Posted by: Magox | November 30, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Huge increases to premiums and special interests' programs included. We already knew this and it's exactly what's wrong with health care 'reform'.

What we need is basic health care at low cost.

Posted by: cprferry | November 30, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

By now everyone with a brain understands that this legislation has absolutely nothing do do with "reform". It has become a gigantic hogs trough in which various healthcare industry sectors and those corrupt swine in Washington bury their snouts up their ears at the public's expense. God help us if any part of this legislation passes. We needed actual reform", but the whoring swine in Congress have turned this into a farce.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 30, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I remember the days of Obama's denunciation of Bush's so-called budget gimmicks. And yet here we have a bill with some of the most grotesque accounting gimmicks that would land any small business owner in an orange jumpsuit. I'm beginning to feel insulted that this Congress and this administration view the American people as too ignorant and uninformed to see through the smoke screen.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | November 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Democrats equate insurance reform with expanding coverage to all, at any cost to voters who vote Republican.

Republicans equate insurance reform with driving down the cost of insurance for those who pay for their insurance.

Depending on whether you pay for your insurance or not, will determine where you come down on this issue.

Posted by: Wiggan | November 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

So as usual, if you are a moderatley successful self-employed individual, the Dems will tell you to again bend over and grab the ankles, as your premiums are going to be even higher now than the already rediculously high premiums. On top of that, we'll have income tax rate hikes coming next year! Hooray, leave it to the Dems to continue to stifle entreprenuership in this country.

Posted by: truth5 | November 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Start by increasing supply - more doctors, nurses, PA's, techs, lab workers, etc. Begin training these people, expanding medical and nursing schools, encouraging CITIZENS to take these jobs.

Then pick the low hanging fruit - Insurance companies able to compete across state lines. Special new insurance policies offered at lower rates if the insured agrees to limited malpractice awards. Phase out Medicare advantage for seniors above the poverty level. Allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs. Hire thousands of federal workers to investigate and prosecute Medicare and Medicaid fraud. (The return on that investment would be near 1,000 percent - a billion dollars per year would put 5,000 people to work. Medicare fraud is estimated at near $80 billion per year. 5,000 or 10,000 fraud investigators with 500 or 1,000 jail sentences might even scare some Medicare crooks out of the business.) All of these would lower the total cost of health care without cutting services.

Then start cutting services or increasing revenue, admitting that BOTH are needed. Increase Medicare payroll taxes progressively as an individual's income rises. Increase Medicare premiums for high income recipients.

FINALLY, when you've got a good handle on cost reduction and increased revenue, decide how to provide health insurance to the 10 percent of the CITIZENS and other legal residents who don't have it now.

Doesn't that make sense to anyone?

Posted by: atrepos1 | November 30, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Medicare Advantage is a flim flam scheme to place more profit sucking, do-nothing insurance company leeches between those who fund Medicare and those who need it. It's disingenuous for Boehner, Mitchell, et al to be claiming that its removal is taking something away from Medicare recipients. It's also absurd for Republicans, most of whom never wanted the Medicare program in the first place, to posture themselves as its defenders.

Posted by: rooster54 | November 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

White House intention is to keep attention off health care legislation by other topics in the news. Now, why would they do that? Because Obama Democrats know that responsible tax paying Americans and U.S. citizens are against Obama's Senate bill to legislate by federal law a government-run health care to predetermine medical services.

Of the key Senators, Burris should not have a vote due to his appointment by corrupt politics. His position on pubic opt government insurance is political bluff. He will vote however the White House tells him to vote.

Posted by: klausdmk | November 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

How can the CBO have credability when they think we must be stupid? We will be paying higher prices and higher state taxes. We no longer have our heads in the sand. This multi-trillion dollar bill has already cost us in paying for votes.

Posted by: MOMLEE | November 30, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

once you get beyond all the budget gimmicks, this bill costs $2.5 trillion. many sources, including the Economist, have arrived at this conclusion.

AND it has mandates that people buy insurnace, under penalty of fine and/or jail!! this is something president Obama promised he would not support back during the presidential campaign.

what gives?

Posted by: dummypants | November 30, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I voted Republican since I could vote until recently.

The current Republican representatives/Senators usually seem to simply lack intelligence and knowledge.

Either that's a blanket reality, or the only few Republicans in Congress that have any honesty and intelligence are never quoted.

Which is it?

It would be better for the GOP to have most of the current crop unelected and replaced by smarter Republicans.

There have to be some smarter Republicans somewhere.

Do any Republicans even have the simple common sense to realize that the Dutch have *more* competition than we do here???

Where are the Republicans?

Who replaced them? How could they have so little cohones to let Limbaugh sink the party into nothing?

Posted by: HalHorvath | November 30, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

No means no.


BEAR REVOLT was started by Veterans ( Czar nick named terrorists) seeking to empower the active troops with a clear documentation of the majority's will of the people via archival quality hardbound petitions (signatured by all men, women, and children who have No Confidence this 2009 Federal Government).

The signed petitions are being entered into County recordations offices as a "recorded document", then pooled, and placed as a" Document" into the Library of Congress by the people of each State.

The well documented majority with " no confidence" can allow the defenders of the US Constitution the ability to carry out the "will of the majority".

It seeks to void all signatures of the current Fed 2009, and hence can retro from 2010 , 2011, etc. to do it.

This Redress call was named when Pelosi went to THE BEAR REPUBLIC of California , threw imported ACORNS at their heads,
then called them astroturf and walked on their backs with her spikey heels out the door absolutely refusing to listen to them saying NO.

PETITION:

The REDRESS of the 2009 Federal Government of the United States of America
For NO CONFIDENCE
By the recall of :
The Congress, (all names listed both Partys)
The Hill , ( all names listed both Partys)
The Cabinet, (all names listed)
The Czars, ( all names listed)
Barack Hussein Obama ( all "currently" known names listed: Barack Hussein Soroeto, Barack Hussein Dunham )

Posted by: dottydo | November 30, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The premium increases are likely because many health insurance policies are phoney. They collect premiums but avoid paying for any health care.

There are some real ways to cut costs. Several health economists have recommended scaling up the 30+ year old Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission and eliminating price negotiations between insurers and hospitals. Another widely recognized approach is to eliminate fee-for-service medicine and massively change the business models of physicians and other providers. If there are changes like these in the bill, they are either well hidden or they hope some BRAC-type scheme will "force" them on Congress.

Posted by: StanKlein | November 30, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

MomLee wrote>>>We will be paying higher prices and higher state taxes.

Will be?!? We're already paying higher state taxes and fees because Bush gave HUGE tax cuts to the wealthy!!

Remember Bush's LIE - "tax cuts create jobs."

Bush created 2M jobs.
Clinton created 23M jobs!

Posted by: angie12106 | November 30, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

rooster54: "Medicare Advantage is a flim flam scheme to place more profit sucking, do-nothing insurance company leeches between those who fund Medicare and those who need it."

Will you please describe in detail how the "scheme" works rather than using meaningless drivel to describe your idealogical leanings? I will agree with you that insurance of any type is a form of a scheme...one that protects, to a degree, the insured, while the insurer takes risk in order to profit. Don't you insure yourself, your home, or your car? The last time I checked, risk taking to make a profit is considered a form of capitalism. If I as a consumer want to pay an additional premium for the extra benefits that Advantage Plans provide, why should you care? Isn't that the risk I take? I would rather pay a higher premium to cover any subsidy that the government is currently paying than lose the benefits provided through Medicare Advantage.

Posted by: usapatriot2 | November 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

do you personally know anyone unemployed for more than 6 months??

if so, count how many people also know this unemployment victim

because thats how the dems will lose the house in 2010

see there are 6 americans looking for a job for every 1 job opening

so this measn 5 out of 6 americans liiking for a job willl not find a job by christmas

no matter how hard they look
no matter how long they look

due to obama socialism

obama socialism--its the reason you may lose YOUR job

by christmas

Posted by: ProCounsel | November 30, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

In my lifetime, and that has been awhile, I have never seen our government do anything that didn,t cost twice as much as it should and accomplish half as much as it should. With as many people in Washington trying to bake the same cake it is no wonder nothing but crap comes out of the oven. What amazes me is that anything worthwhile ever comes out of there at all.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | November 30, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

This article is just B.S. If you belive it you would buy the Brooklyn Bridge or worse yet vote for Obama.

Posted by: affirmativeactionpresident | November 30, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

" Who " is going to pay for the Government subsidies? Is this supposed to represent free money?

And... Since when has the government EVER came in on budget? I would like to see these numbers re-estimated with the cost overrun percentages of Medicare and/or Schip being applied for 'realism'.

And... what about Medicare... that is being robbed of 500 billion? Who is going to make that up?

And, is this still being calculated on 6 years of benefits but 10 years of tax collection? I absolutely DO NOT TRUST the Democrats on fiscal spending matters.

Posted by: wilsan | November 30, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Truth5 - pull down your pants and assume the position!

The individual markets were the ones they were supposed to be fixing.

What if you're in the 43% who aren't going to get a present from their uncle in the form of subsidy and you are self-employed?

You'll be paying more to fund all those people who are getting subsidies plus you'll be paying more for your own coverage.

Wasn't this supposed to help those who didn't work for large companies?

Posted by: RedBird27 | November 30, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody really believe anything that comes out of the Pelosi/Reid BS operation.
The fact remains that we are 10 trillion dollars in debt.
That makes us as a country bankrupt.

Posted by: garys_opinion | November 30, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Angie12106 "Only 20% seniors have Medicare Advantage, an Insurance plan concocted by Bush and Repubs for WEALTHY seniors.
If wealthy seniors want more bells and whistles than traditional Medicare - they should pay the difference themselves!"

Medicare Advantage passed Congress in 1997 and was signed into law by Bill Clinton. It is available to anyone who qualifies for Medicare, wealthy or otherwise. Those that choose an Advantage Plan typically pay an additional premium for the extra "

Posted by: usapatriot2 | November 30, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

bobfbell wrote:

My God, can't these bureacrats communicate simply and to the point?

Some premiums will go up, some will go down, incentives will be used, blah, blah blah. Confusing? Yes, probably intentionally so.

Can anyone in the CBO answer this simple questions; Will health care costs, including premiums, per capita go up or go down? Will the total national expenditure for health care be more or less than under the current system? Will health care costs per capita, whether paid for my individuals, employers or governments continue to increase at the same or greater rates or might they increase at a lower annual rate?

We have been sold this reform agenda on the basis it would cut costs and expenditures for health care. If the answers to the aforrementioned questions are it will not, let's go back to square one and start to develop a program which will.
_______________________________________

bobfbell, you've hit the nail right on the ol' head. What's being proposed has nothing to do with lowering costs in any meaningful way - which IS what was originally sold. It now has EVERYTHING to do with redistribution of wealth, government control, and a feather in the cap for Obama. Period.

A TRUE free market is the ONLY thing that will control costs and not bankrupt us...

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | November 30, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

You're all being dense here.

The issue is the "federal subsidy".

Where the *heck* do you think that will come from? Right. Higher taxes on everyone. Effectively we'll all pay more, we have to, because instead of paying $20M in bonuses to insurance companies, we'll add $10B in overhead.

How much does the Social Security Agency cost to run? Multiply by 3 to get a sense of what the overhead will be on this fiasco.

You will pay more, it's just that they'll try to hide it.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 30, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

500 billion cut in medicare with the baby boomers coming on line. I'm a democrat and my party seems to be ignoring me. I plan to ignore them in 2010. THIS IS RATIONING.

Posted by: farmsnorton | November 30, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

GIVE US THE PUBLIC OPTION MARKETPLACE COMPETITOION THAT WILL DRIVE PRICES DOWN, DRIVE INSURANCE EXECUTIVE BONUSES DOWN, AND SAVE AMERICAN LIVES!

Thanks.

Posted by: onestring | November 30, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

usapatriot2, an earlier post by Hopeful9 @ 2:00 pm, speaks to the $117 billion federal subsidy currently being paid that forms the basis of Angie12106's contribution about 20% of seniors having access to Medicare Advantage. It also speaks to your 5:00 pm concerns. This is a program that 80% of the seniors in this country are denied access to solely because of their inability to afford an extra $135 a month, or $4.50 a day, but who provide the taxes necessary to keep that program afloat for the "affluent" who can already afford the extra $135 a month. Read Hopeful9's contribution and then explain to rooster how it is taking a "risk" in the name of "capitalism" for firms to rake in $117 billion for a benefit that costs $10 billion. Skip the BS about Bush and Bill. It's not important.

Posted by: deucebollards | November 30, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Not so fast, breathless fan of everything Obama.
Lets take a close look at what's really going on here...

"The result: Nongroup premiums on average would increase by about 13 percent compared with current law, to $5,800 for individuals and $15,200 for family coverage. But the CBO predicts that 57 percent of purchasers in that market would also be receiving federal subsidies that would cover roughly two-thirds of that cost, leaving them paying 60 percent less for insurance than if the legislation were not enacted. "

So nearly half of us who pay for our own insurance directly will pay 13% more so roughly half of y'all can pay 60% less.
And you call this reform??? That's right... 43% of those of us who pay for our own insurance directly will see our rates go UP 13% or so... Since we don't qualify for handouts or welfare or other government programs, the plan calls for the redistribution of tax dollars to help the rest of the public and won't leave a whole bunch of us better off at all... but worse off.

So much for the middle class or retirees who saved for retirement but didn't join a union and end up protected from another hand reaching into our wallets.
Looks an awful lot like a TAX INCREASE, doesn't it?
Only this bill will come in a different envelope in a shameless effort to try and make us forget how it happened and who did it to us.
Note that this is just one source of the anger and frustration that drove Tea Parties even before we figured out just how and how bad we'd get screwed here. Didn't take the media to get us fired up... just our brains, our checkbook, and a basic calculator to know a bad thing was coming straight for us. And now this so-called Reform Bill is going through Congress and the Bill will be sent to us in the mail on a regular basis. Good luck, folks. We're gonig to need it.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | November 30, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Supporters of this bill are out of touch with reality and Should Be Thrown Out. Who can withstand a 30 percent increase in health insurance in this economy? And seniors will be upset at being forced to endure more complications in their health care, with Medicare cuts, Increased premiums, and god-knows-how-many-forms for subsidies--or how long those subsidies will last. Is Congress hoping to offset the newly-insured by kicking individuals buyers off their plans? Why does govt. believe insurance cos. will lower premiums for that group? They are truly out-of-touch with reality.

I'm glad to see the administration is holding up its sterling track record:

Snub the Dalai Lama, bow and/or apologize to everybody, send more troops to Afghanistan, and give social secretaries the night off at first state dinner.

Unemployment is 10-20 percent by the way.

I liked Bill Clinton, and Hillary looks very good right now. I don't believe she would have sold out her constituencies.

Posted by: mclovin | November 30, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The need is truly to REDUCE THE COST of health care.

Anything else is just robbing us. More.

Posted by: postfan1 | November 30, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

How absurd some of these comments really are. I have health care insurance and I pay $600.00 per month and our HSA has a $6000.00 cap before we get any benefits from the United Health Care policy?? I'll take the public option NOW. I am about to have a hip replacement in 17 days and in January I will have to come up with $6000.00 for physical therapy.

Posted by: rsn2000 | November 30, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Would it be possible for many of the people here to read the report themselves? Honest question. Think about how much time you've spent listening to others talk about it or reading about it on the web. If you have a high school education you should be able to understand the report. It's available at cbo.gov and is only 26 pages (and we aren't talking about serious, academic reading here).

Here's a link: http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10781

Oh, and for the love of logic, please drop all of the excessive emotion. It adds absolutely nothing to the discussion (well, nothing constructive anyway).

Posted by: joggle | November 30, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

All the healthcare discussion reminds me of a joke I once heard:

Q: What has ten legs and goes hoe-dee-doe, hoe-de-doe?

A: Five Negroes running to the elevator.

Posted by: BoonyTunes | November 30, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Some people commenting on this seem to believe that THEY would be eligible for the public option.

Perhaps it should be explained to them that they would only qualify if they didn't have an employer-based plan, and even then the plans being discussed would involve HIGHER premiums than private insurance.

The plans being presented in congress don't lower costs. They raise them.

Posted by: postfan1 | November 30, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

If Mitch McConnell is against the health bill it must be GOOD for the middle class--Mitch is only for something that helps the wealthy otherwise he is useless

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | November 30, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

rsn2000...

You say you are paying $600 a month now for an HSA insurance program that has a $6000 deductible? I don't know your situation, but if you can, you need to shop around. I am paying $7200 a year for an HSA insurance program that has a $2300 deductible...

Posted by: wilsan | November 30, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Now committing trillions to war in afghanistan - and a secret undeclared illegal war in pakistan - there is no way we can afford a trillion for healthcare, especially when we contemplate Rangel's plan to revive the draft to support endless war.

Posted by: georgejones5 | November 30, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

LDTRPT25...

You say Mitch McConnell is for the wealthy? Bud, you are WAY out of date...

This country is being sunk by all the rich, elite, liberal, Democrats that are in control. If you can't see that you are blind. Look at Nancy Pelosi... wealthy beyond means... totally untouched and unaffected by the difficulties of the middle class. Look at John Kerry... married into the Heinz fortune. Look at the Kennedys... look at Obama's wife, who got a $300,000 salary with no change in responsibility after Obama was elected senator...

Sorry, bud - you're out of touch; it is the Democrats that are the party of the wealthy now, not the Republicans.

Posted by: wilsan | November 30, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

You know what's really galling about this legislation? It's a *gift* to the insurance companies gift wrapped by the party that hates free enterprise and private jobs: Democrats

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 30, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

The projections for a 'small' increase is not one that compares the 2016 premium to today's premium, or even to the expected 2014 premium. The comparison is to the PROJECTED premium increases if nothing changes in current law. In other words, if the senate plan is implemented, virtually all premiums will be higher than without it. But some will be only slightly higher.

Posted by: infuse | November 30, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Yep. Spend the taxpayer's money on subsidizing and enabling losers.

Democrats plan to screw the productive population, by placing caps on their Medical Flex-Spend accounts and for corrective eye surgery or some nonsense that is deemed "cosmetic." Tax the heck out of so-called "Cadillac Plans," so the government can "compete."

The solution is clear and simple and doesn't take 2000+ pages-

1. Allow and don't cap for Health Savings Accounts and Medical Flex-Spend Accounts.

2. Establish "High-Risk" pools to allow everybody to buy coverage.

4. Have insurance companies compete on an interstate basis.

5. Have insurance companies offer a high-deductible "catastrophic care."

6. No taxes on health insurance policies and a full or substantial tax deduction on those who pay premiums, with post-tax money.

Why work, when the government is providing free medical care, free food stamps and free housing?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | November 30, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The fact is Representatives, Senators, officials in the Obama administration, the CBO and everyone else have no idea how much any health care bill will cost over ten years. Another fact is that in exchange for some needed reforms, such as banning discrimination based on preexisting conditions, the federal government will be regulating health care to an unprecedented extent, which may have some beneficial consequences for some people, but will inevitably have some negative results. Anyone who thinks reducing Medicare by four hundred billion will not detrimentally affect millions of seniors is naive.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | November 30, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

So, let's see ~ I pay more but there's more coverage, mostly for stuff I will never need, but it'll put money in the pocket of some Senator's ne'er do well brother in law, the family doctor.

Sure, right ~ we've seen this before ~ or, you have a Senator planning on "benefits" being dropped into the mandatory national health care package primarily for the benefit of his or her family droolers.

This stuff gets pretty personal, but so's my money ~ I like it a lot. it keeps me fed. Keeps me in gas. Keeps me warm. Frankly, I'd rather have a $5,000 deductible in every single mandatory package so my premiums were reduced.

Posted by: muawiyah | November 30, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

It just keeps getting better and better. President Obama said the purpose was to bring the cost of premiums down. Later another Democrat let the cat out of the bag and said the purpose wasn't to bring the cost down, but keep the cost from going higher. Now, we're told by the CBO that the premiums are going higher. Maybe, before the Democrats in the Senate vote for the government health care, they will tell the American people the real purpose behind total take over of health care. By now it's apparent it was never about the uninsured and competition.

Posted by: houstonian | November 30, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

All I see is...the govt is mandating that I hand 10-15% of my income to feather the profits of the insurance cartel.

NO !@#$!@#$!$@! WAY!

The govt and the insurance cartel can shove it up their collective bottom lines.

Posted by: pcw5150 | November 30, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Soooooooooooo..........

it becomes known that Illegal Felon Immigrants will be included in BOTH Bills currently being considered in the Congress !!!

Odd how that has NOT been in the Headlines about the proposed Legislation !!!

I found it !!!

Employer furnished Healthcare currently would include the Illegal Felon Immigrants under the Govt. Option !!! ........and if they can't afford the cost, it will be subsidized by the Govt. from funds taxed from Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer/Voter/Citizen !!!

I thought POTUS Mao Bama, aka "The Liar in Chief" told Congress that Illegal Felon Immigrants would NOT be covered under this Legislation ???

LIE, did HE LIE ???

Apparently Rep. Joe Wilson was correct afterall with the dirty little secret that no one wanted to be made public !!!

Posted by: thgirbla | November 30, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

750 Billion here, a trillion there, cash for clunkers, wheeeee! Can I stay on this ride?

Posted by: jeffreyrward | November 30, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Aprogressiveindependent: If those are facts, prove them. They certainly aren't 'facts' just because you label them as such.

The truth is these are estimates, true. But that doesn't mean "the CBO and everyone else have no idea how much any health care bill will cost over ten years."

Why the heck even bother having a CBO if a bunch of drunk guys in a room would make predictions every bit as accurate?

One of their primary raisons d'être is to make budget forecasts. It would be trivial to make a case for your claim (although it still wouldn't be a 'fact') by simply reviewing their past predictions and see how accurate they were, presuming that the legislation they reviewed was passed without any further significant modifications which could cause the results to diverge from their forecast.

Posted by: joggle | November 30, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

When have government forecasts been accurate, particularly when they're compiled by stooges for the administration?

Medicare was forecast to be deficit neutral, but surprise, it has a $37 trillion unfunded liability.

Like Medicare, the health-insurance legislation will prove to be an economic disaster.

Posted by: judithod | November 30, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Where the hell did that headline come from? "Senate plan ups some premiums"? The whole article talks about how premiums will be less for most people. Very misleading.

Posted by: deubius | November 30, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Is the $300 million bribe paid to Senator Mary Landrieu included in the provisions of the Senate bill?

Posted by: judithod | November 30, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the so-called servants of the people, Congress. The health care reform leaves the coordination of the program up to the I.R.S., this is enough to condemn the plan. We need to eliminate the I.R.S. and replace it with the FairTax. We definitely do not need to expand the I.R.S. powers by giving it jurisdiction over health care. Wake up, American people or you will soon be slaves in your own country. You must not allow the health care reform to become the law of the land.

Posted by: bnoah24 | November 30, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

What garbage: "increase premiums in the individual market, but purchasers would get better coverage". This is the whole problem. We're overtreated. I want cheaper healthcare, not more healthcare. Now, you idiots take away my chance to buy less, and force me to buy more. Economics fail.

Posted by: staticvars | November 30, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

During the campaign didn't Obama say healthcare would be paid for through efficiency and taxes on the wealthy? Instead the wealthy get bailouts, illegals get healthcare, Congress makes history, and the middle-class gets the shaft.

Posted by: rpatoh | November 30, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

How can any reasonable person believe that insurance companies can be required to cover all conditions and have no caps and still not increase premiums to the masses that currently have coverage? They will just start now and increase every year until 2013 BUT THEY cannot cover all pre-exisiting conditions for people who have been uninsured and stay in business and not raise their premiums.

Posted by: mko1201 | December 1, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

'He said that would only prop up those who produce what customers don't want, subsidizing failure and penalizing success. He said that government inserting itself into commercial journalism should be "chilling" to anyone concerned about the First Amendment.'

Rupert Murdoch's comments about government involvement in journalism. This is true for government involvement in the production of anything...no matter if it is weapons for national defense, helath care, insurance, manufacturing, technology...you name it. Conservative rhetoric gets lost in addressing minutiae. This is the real message. Conservatives can't over state the simplicity of this simple fact: The government can't 'produce' anything except legislation to get itself out of the market's way.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | December 1, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released a merged version of the Senate comprehensive reform on 11/19/09,
which Mike Oliphant, whom manages www.benefitsmanager.net for Utah based health insurance plans for employers could get
behind and support some of it (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or H.R. 3590).
This should encourage the private sector health insurance carriers to form INSURANCE EXCHANGES which is what we have
done here in Utah. They carry the risk and burden, not the tax payer. See more about this at www.utahhealthplans.info
You would be surprised about the willingness of carriers to co-share risk amongst their immediate competitors. They simply
focus on profit from the 4 to 5 percent administration fees. A government run public option could not achieve this.

Posted by: mikeoliphant | December 1, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

So of the 17 percent who will have individually purchased coverage, 43 percent of them will pay higher premiums.

That comes out to 7.3 percent of the total -- all with incomes above 400 percent of the poverty level -- who will pay higher premiums.

How does McConnell get from there to "an analysis showing that the Democrat (sic) bill will actually increase premiums for American families" without, oh I don't know, lying?

Posted by: mcclure03 | December 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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