CBO releases Health Care Reform score; House likely to vote on Sunday

The CBO has released their analysis of the Senate HCR bill combined with the “sidecar” reconciliation bill. You can read the CBO analysis here (pdf file), but the most important numbers are:

Reduce deficits: $138 billion in the first ten years. ($1.2 trillion in the second decade, although that’s not a precise number at all, just an estimate).
Costs: $940 billion in the first ten years.
Money spent making private insurance more affordable (with subsidies): $466 billion in ten years.
Money spent expanding Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): $434 billion in ten years.
Money spent on small employer credit (making it more affordable for small employers to offer health insurance to their employees): $40 billion in ten years.

Currently uninsured Americans who will be insured: 32 million. (And the remaining uninsured people will in effect be getting low-cost catastrophic health care insurance, in exchange for the penalty they pay.)

So where does the money come from? $17 billion (over ten years) from people who refuse to buy insurance paying a penalty; $52 billion (over ten years) from businesses who choose to pay a penalty rather than provide coverage for employees; $32 billion (over ten years) from the “excise tax” on the most expensive insurance plans; I-can’t-find-the-number-but-it’ll-be-tens-of-billions-over-a-decade from extending the payroll tax to some currently untaxed income; and nearly 500 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid.

Democrats are also claiming that the bill “extends Medicare’s solvency by at least 9 years.” As far as I can judge, that’s not true; the savings are being spent on Health Care Reform, not on extending Medicare’s solvency. (This is the “double-counting” that Representative Ryan – and the CBO – have been talking about.)

It’s going to be a very close vote in the House (although Kucinich, surprisingly, is now going to vote for the bill).

So this bill will raise some taxes, and finds a lot of savings in current Medicare and Medicaid programs. In return, it extends health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, makes Medicaid and CHIP available to millions of currently non-covered Americans, and heavily regulates what insurance companies can do (so that abusive crap like this stops happening).

If you support this bill, please call your representative in the House and let them know.

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2 Responses to CBO releases Health Care Reform score; House likely to vote on Sunday

  1. 1
    Charles S says:

    It looks to me like it is the CBO saying that it increases medicare solvency, not the Democrats. It increases medicare solvency because it uses decreased costs in medicare programs to pay for increased costs in non-medicare programs. So money that would have been spent out of the medicare trust fund will instead be invested in federal bonds, providing money for non-medicare health insurance subsidies. That is my guess anyway.

  2. 2
    Charles S says:

    Amp points out (in conversation) that the summary I had seen was indeed from the Dems, not from the CBO, and that the CBO does describe the extension of medicare solvency as double counting. It is double counting, but it is also true (for the reason I described). It is double counting because some of it is only deficit reduction if you count the bonds bought by the medicare trust fund as not being part of the deficit. Personally I think that makes it make more sense to say that that part isn’t deficit reduction not to say that it doesn’t increase medicare solvency. The point at which medicare will stop running a profit is pushed off by 9 years, but the amount of Federal bonds being sold that need to be repaid eventually is not being decreased merely because the Medicare trust fund is buying them rather than China.