Scoring Wyden's modified 'Free Choice' amendments
Jon Cohn reports that Ron Wyden has gotten a CBO score (pdf) for a heavily modified -- and compromised -- version of his Free Choice Act. The amendment would no longer open the exchanges to everyone. Now, it would simply open them to people whose employer-based coverage would cost 8 to 10 percent of their income. These folks would get a voucher for part of the cost of coverage from their employer, and they'd also be eligible for the exchange's subsidies if they qualified.
According to the CBO, the new amendment would help one million people and cost about $5 billion (because they could use the subsidies on the exchange). By the standards of this bill, that's a lot of people being helped for very little money. Meanwhile, 10 Senate Democrats -- including Evan Bayh, Bill Nelson, Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders -- have signed a letter to Harry Reid supporting Wyden's “Free Choice” proposal, although the letter is purposefully vague on which version it's advocating.
October 30, 2009; 5:38 PM ET
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