Monday, September 7, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Outline

A glimpse of what the Senate finance committee is thinking. No public option, capping tax exclusion of employer paid premiums and some sort of tax on insurance companies based on market share. This appears to be driven by the notion that the number of customers will go up for insurance companies, so they will in turn pay a tax of sorts. However, in the first year of the plan, this raises $6 Billion, so appears to be mostly symbolic. The subsidies provided to purchase insurance would go up to 300% of poverty, less generous than the house bills. And this version does not have a 'trigger' that many say Sen. Olympia Snowe favors...whereby a public option would become available if 95% of the people in a given state couldn't find an insurance option available than cost less than 13% of their gross income.

The most surprising thing to me is that Republicans are not talking about malpractice reform. I think they are scared that if they talk about it, Obama will take them up on it.

The 'gang of six' of the Senate finance committee meets tomorrow.

The President today talked about reform in Cincinnati, and his press spokesman said that Wed. night he will 'draw some lines in the sand' which is clearest signal that Pres. Obama will be clear about what he wants on Wednesday night. It is time for that.

Update: I am actually not totally sure what this proposal does re the current tax exclusion of employer paid premiums. There is clearly a new type of tax on insurance companies based on market share....more covered then pay more. But, what I was calling a capping of tax exclusion, is being described as a tax on insurance companies that offer high deductible plans. Maybe semantics but:
*cap the tax exclusion would mean that consumers with very generous plans would pay taxes on premiums paid by employers over a certain amount;
*this seems to say if insurance companies write a policy that is more generous than say the national average, then the tax is levied on the insurance company....presumably making them less likely to sell such coverage.

So, I am not sure what the details are.....and I can't find that the text has leaked out anywhere.....lots of the usual sources are taking the day off. Oh yea, it is a holiday, but Duke has classes.

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