Ezra Klein at the Washingon Post released a health care reform draft proposal from the Senate Finance Committee. The plan is not just bad -- it is worse than I would have ever imagined it could be. Just how bad is Senator Baucus's draft proposal? It is worse than the proposal put forward by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). That is correct -- the health insurance industry wrote a better proposal than the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee.
For the most part Baucus's proposal is almost identical to that of the AHIP lobby. Both do not include a public option and would offer a bare bones insurance plan. Both have an individual mandates, a form of community rating, and some type of health insurance exchange. Both would also limit out-of-pocket cost based on the current HSA standard. In the few places the proposals differ, Baucus's proposal is in fact less generous than the AHIP.
Paying for private insurance
Baucus Proposal – People making below 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL) would get subsidies to help buy insurance. If you make more than $31,500 you are on your own for the full cost of insurance.
AHIP Proposal – People making below 400% of the FPL would get subsidies to help buy insurance. Also everyone buying private insurance would get to deduct the full cost of their plan.
Baucus Proposal – Every adult below 100% of the FPL would be eligible for Medicaid. Children below 133% of FDL would be eligible.
AHIP Proposal – Every adult below 100% of the FPL would be eligible for Medicaid. Children below 300% of FDL would be eligible.
The conclusion is simple. To claim that the health care reform plan put forward by the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee was written by health industry lobbyists would be an insult to the lobbyists. Their plan was slightly better and did more to help average Americans buy health insurance.