Baucus Bill In At $774 Billion, Would Reduce Deficit By Nearly $50 Billion Over Decade
Sen. Max Baucus' bill, which he said would cost $774 billion over the next 10 years, would reduce budget deficits by about $50 billion over the same time period, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Washington Post: "In a preliminary analysis, the CBO said the package would cover 94 percent of Americans by 2019, leaving 25 million people uninsured - a third of them illegal immigrants who would not be eligible to participate in the exchanges. ... To pay for expanding coverage, Baucus proposes cutting payments to hospitals and other providers that serve recipients of Medicare, the federal health-care program for the elderly, and to tax, for the first time, the nation's most generous health insurance policies. The package also would impose $93 billion in fees on insurance companies, drugmakers and other sectors of the health-care industry. And it would collect nearly $50 billion in penalties from people who do not obtain health insurance and employers who do not offer their workers affordable options for coverage. Because the value of those provisions would grow faster than the cost of expanding coverage, the package would reduce budget deficits now and in the foreseeable future, the CBO said" (Montgomery and Murray, 9/17).
The Washington Post in an analysis: "In virtually every instance, industries facing new fees or budget cuts would be rewarded with additional revenue from legislation that could cover 30 million more people, said Kenneth E. Thorpe, an Emory University professor and Clinton administration official. Under the Baucus bill, businesses such as hospitals, device manufacturers, drugmakers and insurers would face $93 billion in new fees over the next decade" (Connolly, 9/17).
CongressDaily reports on concerns about "a $215 billion tax on insurance companies for high-cost plans. This likely sets up a conflict over whether to use the wiggle room created by coming in below the $1 trillion benchmark to make insurance more affordable or raise the value of which high-cost plans get taxed. CBO Director Elmendorf blogged Wednesday that the difference between the agency's final score and the committee's $856 billion price tag is a result of committee staff adding up all the positive numbers in previous draft tables CBO provided. Finance Committee staffers said CBO's analysis is a net score taking into account savings as well as spending, and the committee does not question the agency's estimate. A Medicaid expansion would total $287 billion and federal tax credits would total $463 billion, CBO determined" (Edney, 9/17).
The Associated Press has a bulleted breakdown of the CBO score of the bill that explains the costs and revenues (9/16).
The Christian Science Monitor: "Conservatives charge the opposite of the CBO's projections: healthcare costs will go up and quality will go down. Forecasts of future government healthcare spending can be woefully under their actual cost, pointed out GOP staffers of the Joint Economic Committee report in July. In 2006, for example, Massachusetts passed a universal coverage plan that was predicted to cost roughly $472 million in fiscal year 2008. Instead, it cost $628 million" (Belsie, 9/16)