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What the health-care reform bill means for you

The Washington Post's calculator is actually really good.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 23, 2010; 7:44 AM ET
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Next: The costs and benefits of the Republican strategy on health-care reform



Are you going to give us the skinny on the upcoming court challenges, and what experts think about GOP claims of unconstitutionality issues?

How long will these challenges last? Through the mid-terms?

Isn't it true that, even if portions of the bill are unconstitutional, only those parts will be thrown out and not the entire bill? I believe that was the case for Bush's Military Commission Act.

If the mandate is thrown out, wouldn't repubs be hurting themselves, because then those lost revenues would have to be found somewhere else, most probably in the form of additional tax hikes (on those earning over $250,000)?

Is the mandate penalty legally considered a tax? If so, doesn't that mean Obama violated his election promise not to raise taxes on those below $250,000.

FL AG is claiming the new bill is an unfunded mandate forcing FL to increase spending on such things as medicaid, and thus unconstitutional. Any truth?

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Hi Ezra
Off-topic but I wondered if you had anything to say about Jamie Oliver's new show on ABC? My hope is that Michelle Obama watched it. The most interesting part to me was that all involved in the school lunches were convinced they were best meeting the USDA guidelines.

Posted by: KDID | March 23, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

not for nothing but I just did the calculator for myself and while I don't get subsidies it also claims I don't pay any new taxes.

Are they serious? Someone needs to fix that because while there may be no DIRECT taxes (ie the medicare increase) I'll be hit with many indirect taxes that insurers, pharma, medical device manufacturers will raise prices.


Posted by: visionbrkr | March 23, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone done a timeline for the next several years showing when various parts of the Senate bill (or the Senate bill with the reconciliation package) come into effect?

If not, that'd be super helpful, Ezra.

Posted by: MosBen | March 23, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, please address the question, how do people get these subsidies, ensure they aren't being pushed over the caps, etc.? Is everyone expected to learn to be an accountant?

Perhaps as part of education reform, they should put "how to navigate government paper work" in as a curriculum requirement?

Posted by: janinsanfran | March 23, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

memo to Klein from communications office: Thanks l'il buddy for doing our work all these months. But now is the time for a cone of silence to descend on this can of dogfood we are making the public eat. There really is no good answer to questions such as "how will we navigate the paperwork" or "how is all this gonna happen without everyone who pays taxes having their taxes raised"? We are about to declare another crisis. Wait for it -- the uncertain status of illegals which must be changed before November because "it's the right thing to do." Get with it and bone up on immigration law. Can you say: White house easter egg roll? good times. DP

Posted by: truck1 | March 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I think i read the subsidies will come in form of tax breaks. If true, that means turbo tax (for example) will make sure you get your subsidies.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

truck1, "is the time for a cone of silence to descend on this can of dogfood we are making the public eat"? Mixed metaphor much?

Posted by: MosBen | March 23, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Well, yes, agreed. Mixed metaphor.

Posted by: truck1 | March 23, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It was a useful tool; though not covering my specific situation, it got close enough.

It'd be nice if we started seeing these kinds of informational tools before the legislation gets passed. So that when we hear that the American public loves or hates something, we can have some idea that they at least know--or even have the opportunity to know--a little something about it. Yes, legislation changes as it moves through the process. But the broad strokes have been pretty stable for months now. Stable enough to make this calculator, that is.

Posted by: slag | March 23, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I hope this calculator is wrong on the cost-sharing information. Putting in a single person with income of $30,000, it tells me that "Your maximum out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-payments would be capped at 30% of the total cost." So if I have a medical year from hell and it costs $100,000, I will pay $30,000? I think the 30% may refer to actuarial cost, and the calculator does a disservice if it doesn't explain what this means. I think most people want to know what their maximum out-of-pocket expenses are. I have read that plans will have out-of-pocket maximum costs linked to Health Savings Account maximums, and lower income people will have to pay only a percentage of that maximum. But I am not sure how this fared in the reconciliation bill or whether it is still in there at all. So, what are the out-of-pocket maximums for 100%, 200%, 300%, and 400% and over of the federal poverty level? I understand that HSA limits will change, but what would they be now?

Posted by: jaymacaz | March 23, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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