Things to Worry About in the CBO's Score
The top-line numbers are very good for reformers. But there are certain things worth fretting over. The first is an amendment that the committee adopted that would require "the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) [to] certify annually whether or not the provisions of the legislation are projected to increase the budget deficit in the coming year. If the Director determined that they were projected to increase the deficit ... exchange subsidies would be automatically adjusted to avoid the estimated increase in the deficit for that year."
In the aggregate, the Senate finance bill reduces the deficit. But there are a couple individual years when it increases it. The CBO thus estimates that "the failsafe provisions would require a reduction in exchange subsidies averaging about 15 percent during the years 2015 through 2018." That's a very bad thing, particularly in the first years of the plan. It means that, with no warning, subsidies will be cut by 15 percent, and insurance that families were able to afford the year before will become totally unaffordable. That needs to be changed.
October 7, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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