Thursday, February 11, 2010

Semantics?

Judd Gregg (R-NH),who is retiring from the Senate this year has put himself in the middle of reform negotiations. Here is an outline of his plan from last year, that is not in legislative language.

He is saying scrap the Senate bill and start over with his notion, but the Senate bill and his ideas are actually quite similar, conceptually. Basically, Gregg wants state-based insurance markets that are at the heart of the Senate bill, but instead of providing comprehensive cover, he wants to provide catastrophic guaranteed cover with people purchasing more if they wish. And he wants a major capping of the tax exclusion, which would add cost slowing pressure to the system.

You could just as easily say add the tax exclusion financing to the Senate bill and provide catastrophic cover instead of comprehensive. So, if he is serious, there would appear to be something to talk about. I guess the key is for Republicans to be able to say 'they killed the Senate bill' and for Democrats to say 'The Republicans didn't roll us.' So, why don't both say the requisite phrase and move ahead.

The biggest uncertainty I have about what Gregg says he wants is this phrase:
"Defines a cost structure (not a benefit structure) in order to allow for flexible benefit design."

I am not sure what that means?

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