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The Baucus Healthcare Bill

September 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ezra Klein has dug up and posted a link to the healthcare reform outline (pdf) that Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] is shopping around today to the other members of the “Gang of Six.” He’s also posted a little more analysis of the outline here.

Basically, the bill has a co-op, no public option, an individual mandate and less subsidies for individuals. This is interesting:

The Baucus plan de-emphasizes the employer mandate in favor of the individual mandate. Importantly, this mandate comes with an affordability exemption: If the lowest cost premium available exceeds 10 percent of a person’s income, they’re exempt from the mandate. Beyond that, the fee for people who are not eligible for subsidies is $950 per year, up to $3,800 for a family.

I still see this leaving a lot of people out. A person who makes $30,000 annually, for example, would be faced with a decision to pay $2,500 or so a year to buy an insurance plan, or pay the $950 fee to the government. If they are not choosing to get their own insurance now, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t choose the fee once the bill is passed. That is, of course, unless the bill can bring healthcare costs down closer to the amount of the fee. But without a public option, there is not much chance of that happening. In fact, with a new individual mandate, demand for insurance will go up and prices will likely go up along with the demand.

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