Thursday, February 25, 2010

The President’s Health Summit Proposal: Rhetoric vs Reality

by Bob Moffit

The President’s health care proposal contains little that is new. The well tested rhetoric used by the White House to sugarcoat the health policy outline should not fool ordinary Americans. This proposal is even more expensive than the Senate bill upon which it is apparently based: $950 billion over ten years rather than $871 billion.

Consider the claims made by the White House regarding the effects of the President’s proposal on the health care system.

The Rhetoric on Affordability. “It makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today.”

The Reality: In fact, the tax credit would be limited to only a limited number of persons within a limited set of income brackets, not the entire middle class. One cannot ignore the tax increases, or the prescribed cost of the health care benefits packages themselves. As the premiums increase, the cost of the subsidies, based on percentage of income, would track these increases, resulting in another direct cost shift onto all taxpayers. In fact, the President’s proposal, based on the Senate bill, would result in major tax increases (estimated at $629 billion over ten years) and would include a variety of middle class tax increases. This, of course, once again violates the president’s promise to refrain from imposing taxes on those with family incomes of less than $250,000 per year.

The Rhetoric on Personal Choice. According to the White House:“It sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the exact same insurance choices that members of Congress will have.”

The Reality: The Health Exchanges in Congress’ health bills and the President’s proposals are not structured to serve as a real competitive marketplace for insurance, in the sense of anything that would resemble real free market competition; rather these institutions would primarily serve as the federally designed mechanism to impose strict federal regulation on private insurers. By contrast, in the FEHBP, the federal government does not standardize the health benefits of private health plans for its employees. For federal employees and retirees, there are a wide variety of health benefit offerings and combinations of benefit packages, ranging in price from expensive health plans (like the Blues Standard Option) to low cost plans (like the Mail handler’s Value Plan, a union plan), and a variety of health plan types, ranging from comprehensive plans to health savings accounts and high deductible plans, plus a wide range of premiums and co-payments.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. What the boys at Blair House didn't mention is the shift of health insurance responsibility to the individual. More will lose workplace coverage than those gaining insurance for the first time (the currently uninsured):