Baucus’ Health Care Bill Is Costlyby Tim Manni
Our friend Mitch at Top Finance Blog brought this heated topic to our attention: Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana proposed a version of the health care reform bill to great degrees of disappointment and disagreement by his fellow constituents. Portions of his draft that will raise costs for the middle class and charge nonparticipating Americans drew strong “ire,” as the Associated Press put it, from both fellow Democrats and Republicans.
There was one major surprise that came from the health care bill being sponsored by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, and it’s the one thing that could scuttle the entire bill. It wasn’t the price tag of $856 billion either.
It was the provision that stated if people didn’t buy into it, they would be fined. Individuals would be fined $950, families would be fined $3,000.
What the heck? I know anyone who read this had to feel blindsided. This isn’t what anyone was expecting to come out of a health care plan that was intended to take care of people who couldn’t afford it. Oh yeah, if you can prove you can’t afford it, you won’t have to pay the fine, but in a backdoor way, you just hit the middle class, who were the major group that didn’t have any health care, the folks the bill was really for in the first place. In essence, they’d be paying for health care, whether it’s $3,000 or some other figure, which I’ve been unable to find, whether they wanted it or not.
Since health-care reform began its full-steam-ahead campaign, one of the resounding claims made by its supporters was that the reform would lower health-care costs for taxpayers. Not so writes Erica Werner (for this version at least):
Giving momentum to President Obama’s top domestic priority, it would require almost everyone to buy insurance; make insurance companies cover people with preexisting medical conditions; and rein in spiraling health-care costs.
To pay for the 10-year, $856 billion bill, Baucus wants to tax high-value insurance plans – those worth $21,000 for a family and $8,000 for an individual.
But other Democratic senators fear the tax will be passed on to consumers and reach deep into the middle class, and labor unions are upset.
Barely 24 hours out of the gate and Baucus’ version has been lambasted by both sides of the aisle. Perhaps this mutual disagreement by both Democrats and Republicans will generate more debate by the two sides in order to determine what benefits, if any, this bill will bring to the American people.