Yes, the CBO says that the new bill will cover 95% of Americans and will save A TON of money. So this is a BIG win for Dems today in their fight to reform health care and win undecided Dem votes.
So how do they do it?
The program would be paid for by slicing nearly $500 billion from Medicare and other federal health programs, particularly a privately operated insurance plan known as Medicare Advantage. Democrats also propose taxing, for the first time, the health benefits of some people who receive coverage through employers. That proposal focuses on the most generous policies, which economists say are helping to drive health-care costs skyward.
The bill — to be unveiled Thursday and likely voted on Sunday in the House — also would increase Medicare payroll taxes for wealthy families, in part by applying the tax for the first time to investment income.
The cost of expanding coverage would exceed $200 billion a year by 2019, the CBO said. But new revenue in the package, combined with savings from program cuts, would outpace the cost of coverage, reducing the federal deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years. The savings would continue to accumulate in the decade thereafter, the CBO said, eventually slicing around $1.2 trillion from the nation’s budget gap.
My prediction…on Sunday this will pass the House. And then it will pass the Senate via reconciliation soon after. Also, given the details of the bill, it’ll be hard to argue that this is a) a government take over of health care, b) adds to our deficit or c) represents something that will interrupt or upset our health care delivery in any way.
Basically, if Republicans think they can use this bill as a bludgeon in October…I’m thinking that won’t be the case once the final story is written on this. Especially when it comes to deficit reduction. Dems can say, “Okay, my Republican opponent is saying X about the health care bill. Let’s look at the facts,” and then list the dozen or so reforms and deficit cutting measures that this included. The only way Republicans will be able to make any traction is if they can convince Americans that the CBO’s projections are full of it, or that Dems shouldn’t have passed this without a supermajority…and I don’t see a lot of independents buying that line.
I also see this win energizing Dems across the country and coming out to defend their representatives. Because while the bill isn’t perfect, it’s certainly something to be proud of. Yes, the process was messy and there’s still work to be done, but to say that you stopped the preexisting condition clause AND cut the deficit at the same time? If that’s not a political winner with the moderate majority, I don’t know what would be.
Read the CBO’s entire report here (pdf).