Critical Condition

The Pelosi Bill Unveiled

Nancy Pelosi unveiled the House Democrats health care reform bill (read it here) at a press conference this morning with the ususal boilerplate speech: “This an historic moment for our nation and families. For nearly a century, leaders of every party and political philosophy have fought for health insurance reform.” etc.

The details of the package are supposedly “less liberal” as the post below notes. The bill will just barely reduce the deficit over the next ten years, though the usual caveats apply as the Democrats have been doing some dishonest cost shifting — tax now, spend later — to manipulate the fact that the CBO scores bills over an immediate ten year horizon.

The House package would expand coverage to 36 million uninsured primarily by expanding Medicaid and offering a public option. The pitfalls of public option have been well-discussed, though Medicaid’s access problems and huge fraud issues have yet to be dealt with — problems that are only going to get worse as the program expands.

The primary difference between the House and Senate plans is that Pelosi’s plan includes a hefty tax on individuals earning over $500,000 and couples earning over a million. It also does not include the Senate bill’s tax on “Cadilac insurance plans” or expensive health insurance plans, usually defined by their cost rather than how extensive their coverage. Unions had been grumbling about the cadilac plan tax as they have some of the best — and most expensive — insurance plans available.

From here, the congress will most likely work to combine the two different bills.