Snowe Offers Worthless Trigger Amendment

Senator Snowe has offered a public option trigger amendment to Baucus' health care reform bill. The Amendment's description states:
This amendment establishes a non-profit government corporation through which a “safety net” plan would be provided in any state in which affordable coverage was not available in the Exchange to at least 95% of state residents. An individual would be deemed to have affordable access if either of two conditions is met. First, two or more plans are offered with premiums – the cost of which does not exceed a specified percentage of the individual‘s adjusted gross income (AGI), after deducting any available tax credit or employer subsidy from the cost of such premium. The percentage contribution shall range from 3 percent of AGI at 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, to 13 percent at 300 percent and above.

Assessment of affordability shall follow submission of plan premiums filed one year in advance of the first day of each policy year, and should a state be found to not meet the 95% threshold, plans would be permitted to submit of any revised premium filings, after which a second assessment of affordability shall be performed. If, after that second assessment, a state still be deemed as not meeting the affordability standard, the safety net plan shall be offered within that state, and shall be available at the pending open season enrollment.
This “safety net” trigger is worthless. Baucus' bill already mandates the government provide sufficient tax credits to make sure the outlined trigger conditions would never be met. Basically the only way the “safety net” plan will ever be trigger is if the federal government violates its own laws. If the government is violating its own laws about providing sufficient tax credits, why should we believe that it will ever follow the law by then creating this “safety net” plan? This is not public policy, this is pure theater.

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