House Puts Forward Unified Health Care Plan

House Puts Forward Unified Health Care Plan


The big story here is that the House put forward a single bill from three separate committees with competing interests. That’s significant since this was one of the biggest problems in 1994…each committee put forward their own bills and chaos ensued.

Also, the estimates says it’ll eventually cover 97% of folks who aren’t covered already, and the price tag will be $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Oh, and it’s paid for. $500 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid and the other money will be found in tax increases on the wealthiest 1.5 percent. But when the Washington Post says, “by imposing a surtax of as much as 5.4 percent on income above $350,000 a year,” that’s a bit misleading.

Actually, the tax will be…

  • 1 percent on income from $350K to $500K
  • 1.5 percent on income from $500K to $1M
  • 5.4 percent in income above $1M.

What do these taxes mean practically? NY Times runs the numbers…

Starting in 2011, a family making $500,000 would have to pay $1,500 in additional income tax to help subsidize coverage for the uninsured. A family making $1 million would have to pay $9,000.

Also, concerning the costs to businesses…

While employers not providing coverage would generally have to pay a fee or penalty equal to 8 percent of wages, there would be some exceptions. For example, an employer with a payroll of less than $250,000 a year would not have to pay any fee or penalty.

The fee would be equal to 2 percent of wages for a company with an annual payroll of $250,000 to $300,000; 4 percent of wages for an employer with a payroll of $300,000 to $350,000; and 6 percent of wages for businesses with a payroll of $350,000 to $400,000.

Honestly, I really have yet to dig into this, but it appears as if it achieves a lot of what has been talked about with regards to reform, covering most folks and remaining budget neutral.

Still, it doesn’t cover EVERYBODY, although I think the estimate was that only 8 million legal citizens wouldn’t have coverage.

If you want to read the whole thing, click here.

Much, much, much more as it develops…

  • John Burke

    Color me skeptical about this plan being “paid for” to the tune of $500 billion in Medicare “savings.”

    These are highly speculative paper “savings” the are likely to evaporate as this plan takes effect (if it ever does). Either we’ll find that they cannot be achieved or, in the unlikely event that they are, Medicare beneficiaries wil find that THEIR coverage is being stripped and made more costly (it’s NOT free), in which case Congress will havwe to find another source of revenue to offset the unachieved savings (look out for future tax increases!).

    More prudent heads in the Senate hopefully understand this scam and will preclude it from happening — but you never know.

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot michael reynolds

    I see no Republicans have commented yet, so let me do it for them:

    Oh, sweet Jesus, a tax increase! Nooooooo! Help us Lord, help us we’re all gonna dieeeee!

    And that’s just from the ones who won’t actually be affected by the tax increase. Average Republicans are very solicitous of the incomes of their superiors. Like serfs looking out for the baron’s stags.

    Speaking for myself: eh. 1% or 1.5%, I’ll survive.

  • Tony Lambiris


    Sound about right?

  • Tully

    Color me skeptical about this plan being “paid for” to the tune of $500 billion in Medicare “savings.”

    Color me MORE than just skeptical. The “savings” are explicitly going to just be cost-shifted back onto the private-payer side of the system, cut off one side just to be pasted back on the other, as we have seen continuously with MCD/MCR “savings” previously imposed by the government. It’s one of the prime drivers in cost increases NOW, and has been for decades. More of the same! The assumption that the tax revenues will materialize is likewise highly questionable.

    Snake oil, and low-grade at that.

    (Appropriately enough, the captcha words I’m seeing right now are SPINOLA SPECIAL.)

  • Simon

    It’s a simple plan, too. Everyone follow?

  • kranky kritter

    Dude, I think “spinola special” should be a coined term. Brilliant.

  • Tully

    The more I dig into the details of this bill, the more I think it was DESIGNED to go down in flames, written just so that Democrats could point at it and blame the GOP and centrist/Blue Dog Dems for killing it.

    You can access the full text (all 1018 pages) here.

  • Jimmy the Dhimmi

    Starting in 2011, a family making $500,000 would have to pay $1,500 in additional income tax to help subsidize coverage for the uninsured.

    Does the family making $500,000 recieve a monthly letter updating them about the particular underprivaledged family that they are supporting? At least with UNICEF or the Christian Children’s Fund, you get a crayon drawing from one of the kids.