Health Care March

At emotionally charged committee meetings in mid-May, Senators hotly debated the provisions of a health care bill, Janet Adamy reported in a 5/16/09 WSJ article.

Obama’s suggestion of a Medicare like public plan, strongly opposed by Republicans, seemed to have little chance of advancing out of contentious committee hearings. Two other public plans were put forth: a multi-regional plan run by third party administrators; and state run plans similar to those for state employees. A third option was a public plan that would have to pay for itself and play by the same underwriting rules as private plans.

In a WSJ article 6/10/09, after announcements by the House and Senate, Ms. Adamy and Naftali Bendavid report on the progress of health care proposals.

The House draft outlined a national exchange for health insurance, included a public option and a requirement that most Americans have health insurance. Eligibility for Medicaid would be conditional on income alone, no longer requiring that someone be a parent. The draft includes subsidies for families and individuals making less than 4 times the poverty level. At current levels, the proposal would provide subsidies for individuals making less than $43K and families earning less than $88K. The Senate’s draft bill was similar, including even more generous subsidies of 5 times the poverty level.

Many details are missing in both House and Senate versions, including the most important detail: how to pay for it. Leaders in the House plan to have the final wording on the bill completed by July, work out differences with the Senate by September and have a bill in place by October.

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