James C. Capretta has posted slides from a 6-hour meeting held today by the Senate Finance Committee outlining options for health care legislation. Capretta provides a good summary of why the situation is as bad as imagined — including proposals for four variations of a new government-run plan and subsidies that would extend to people at 400 percent of the poverty line.
But it’s worth highlighting the regulatory regime, which would force insurers to cover those with preexisting conditions while determing how much they can charge, and mandating what type of coverage they have to offer:
All plans must provide
• Primary care and first dollar coverage for preventive care; emergency services; medical / surgical care; physician services; hospitalization; outpatient services, day surgery and related anesthesia, diagnostic imaging and screenings, including x-rays; maternity and newborn care; prescription drugs; radiation and chemotherapy; mental health and substance abuse services
• No lifetime limits on coverage or annual limits on benefits
It’s ironic that the above is included on a slide entitled, “Making Coverage Affordable,” because these are the very policies that when enacted at the state level, have driven up the cost of insurance coverage by 20 to 50 percent, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance. They also deny younger, healthier, Americans the ability to choose high-deductible policies with cheaper monthly premiums.
Following the meeting, Charles Grassley, who Democrats and the White House are actively courting, wrote on Twitter, “public option (backdoor to Canada health system) scares me.”