Friday, June 19, 2009

A Smart Comment On Healthcare

Over at Ezra Klein's blog, he logs the results of a draft of the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare proposal:

The outline I was given today isn't the Finance Committee's final bill. It's not even necessarily the Chairman's Mark (the bill that will go to the rest of the committee for debate, changes, and modifications). But it's the clearest look at what Finance -- the key committee for health-care reform -- is currently considering.

You could write this story a couple of different ways. The first is to note is the Finance Committee has substantially retreated in the face of the $1.6 trillion price tag the Congressional Budget Office affixed to its original submission. This version of the plan is, comparatively, quite diminished.

The numbers tell the story. In that plan, subsidies reached 400 percent of poverty. In this plan, they've been cut to 300 percent. In that plan, Medicaid eligibility was as high as 150 percent of the poverty line. In this plan, it's 133 percent for pregnant women and children, and 100 percent for childless adults. In that plan, the "gold" coverage was 93 percent of a person's estimated expenses, and "bronze" coverage was 68 percent. In this plan, those numbers are 90 percent and 65 percent, respectively. That means people with a low-cost plan might be covered for only 65 percent of what they're likely to need.

In response, a reader left this comment:

I'm a big supporter of Obama, but he's pissing it away. The key is to trade insurance premiums, copays, deductibles, the 20% insurance doesn't pay, the amount OVER "usual, customary and reasonable" (whatever that is), bankruptcy, and Medicare payroll tax ----> for an income based tax (on Form 1040)plus a small national sales tax. That takes care of revenue. Note that it is not on the backs of business.

Then have a single-payer system. Cut the paperwork, dividends, 1,300 bureaucracies, executive salaries and bonuses, Lear jets, cherry-picking, etc. and cover everyone, from cradle to grave. That solves Medicare/Medicaid. Create a system.

It really isn't so hard.

All these hoops are unnecessary and a waste of time and resources.

Posted by: michael4 | June 18, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Imagine how much easier health policy would be if we didn't have to worry about AHIP or PhRMA.