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CBO Estimates The House Bills: 95%+ Covered, About $900 Billion, And Public Plans

Lori Montgomery reports that the House has gotten its new CBO scores, and they look pretty good: $905 billion for the more generous package that also includes the strongest public plan, and $859 billion for the less generous package that carries the weaker public plan. Both bills push total coverage up above 95 percent of legal residents, which is to say, above the mark hit by the Senate Finance Committee's bill.

It's a bit hard to say anything more about the bills until the new scores are actually released. In general, the stronger public plan saves money, but Montgomery reports that the plan containing it also has more generous insurance requirements, more subsidies for private health insurance, and fewer people on Medicaid, which is presumably why it's pricier. We'll know more when the details become public.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 16, 2009; 7:55 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Folks just to clarify Ezra's remarks, he forgot his important disclosure: its a guess and it could be wrong. So I guess nothing to really fret or post about!

Ezra from last week:

"That isn't a knock on the CBO. Congress has to write a budget every year. That budget needs to include numbers. Someone needs to develop those numbers. The CBO is that someone, and it does as good a job as could be asked. But a best guess is just that: a best guess. It's information that should be incorporated into the design of the final bill, but not information that should decide the design of the final bill. After all, sometimes it proves to be wrong."

Posted by: wisewon | October 16, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

If I may give some advice to Nancy Pelosi and the House, it would be wise to vote out the Medicare+5% public option. The negotiated-rate PO is a silly idea that never should have been taken seriously. If Obama and the Senate later want to water down your strong, workable PO to something that doesn't do the job then let them own it. You face the voters having tried to do the right thing.

Posted by: bmull | October 16, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Good, so only 15, 16 million uninsured and climbing.
Anything less than 100% is a disgrace to a modern nation.

Posted by: adamiani | October 16, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, I am a liberal and enthusiastically in support of Health Care Reform. However, I don't get your monikers 'Weak' vs 'Strong' public plan. If I understand correctly, the big difference between the two is that the 'Strong' public plan would use Medicare reimbursement rates.

Can Ezra or someone else please tell me why this is desirable... and it if is desirable... how is it fair? The government gets to decide by fiat exactly how much a given procedure costs? That's not how any other government procurement works. The government solicits bids and the lowest bid wins.

If we have a strong national insurance exchange that everyone can participate in and a government run public plan that is not tied to medicare reimbursement, but can rather negotiate with providers why is that a bad thing? Presumably if we have a strong national insurance exchange then the public plan will have a lot of enrollees and could therefore be in pretty good position to bargain with providers. Why should the government get to dictate the price?

Sincerely, I don't understand how this is workable or fair.

Myrtle Parker

Posted by: MyrtleParker | October 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Karl Rove writing in the Wall Street Journal
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last week claiming the (Baucus) bill won't add to the deficit.
But this assumes that employers who dump employee coverage under the Baucus bill will then increase worker paychecks by an amount equal to what they had spent on health care.
This replaces a nontaxable event (providing health insurance) with a taxable one (increasing worker paychecks), magically producing $83 billion in revenues.
Without this windfall, the Baucus bill adds billions of dollars to the federal deficit in the first decade.
Of course, why would a company drop employee coverage just so it could pay more (in fines, taxes and wages) than it did before?
Mr. Rove spoke of this last night On The Record. This is important! This is what I was afraid of.
This has to do with the “employer free rider mandate” that is in the Baucus bill.
Rove speaks of “employers who dump employee coverage.”
Senator Frist wrote that in Massachusetts, where they have a similar employer mandate, the number of people who get their health insurance through their employer actually went up.
So, which is it?
If the Baucus “employer free rider mandate” or something similar becomes law, what will be the net effect?
Will more or less of us be getting our health insurance through our employer?
And for the CBO to assume that employers will then “increase worker paychecks by an amount equal to what they had spent on health care” is absurd!
Will anyone in the MSM ask an intelligent question, please?!

Posted by: SisterRosetta | October 16, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Will the Baucus “employer free rider mandate” result in your employer dumping you?

I know exactly how DirtyBird feels!


A Repeat

by DirtyBird

10/16/2009, 11:26 AM

I apologize to those who read this in an earlier post on another thread. I received no rebuttals and actually no comments at all. Therefore I’m left to conclude the left has nothing and the right is bored by the obvious.

(Actually, the left is afraid you’ll figure out the obvious, and the right for some reason I cannot comprehend isn’t screaming this from the rafters.)

Posted by: SisterRosetta | October 16, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, can you tell us when we can expect the CBO score on the single payer bill? Or did I miss something? Thanks.

Posted by: troydog | October 16, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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