Regarding the article CBO says HELP panels bill would cost $1 trillion, extend coverage to only 16 million:
As someone who has priced health plans for more than 30 years, I see all the current estimates as grossly understating the cost of the plans. If you look at any of the proposals and then listen to their proponents they include expansions of benefits beyond current levels, lower deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and eliminating annual and lifetime maximums as well as dental and vision benefits in a few cases. At the same time, they make overly generous estimates of eventual savings for the preventive efforts and best practices they propose to implement. Based on a back-of-the-envelope projection, I would estimate the cost of the full program, expansion in benefits and access for the uninsured to be at a minimum two to three times the already unacceptable $1 trillion over 10 years quoted by most sources.
Health reform is critical to the economic well-being of this country, but before we dive into the deep end of the pool, we should at least test the waters and see how well we can reform the current programs the government runs, Medicare and Medicaid.
We can add some market reforms to this, such as application of a uniform version of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners small-employer rules and uniform benefit designs to the individual and small group markets and establishment of some regional reinsurance pools so that smaller carriers and plans can compete effectively in this new market.
These steps alone will go a long way to solving the problem without huge additional tax burdens. Lets hope cooler heads prevail and meaningful reform takes place instead of the wishful thinking of a handful of politicians.
Mark MeadePrincipalConsulting UnderwritersChester, Md.
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