Obama’s notion of “Change” proved to be popular and helped him win the presidency. It appears the nation is ready to accept some form of change when it comes to our health care system. The big questions are, “What will it look like?” and “What will it cost?”
A preview may have arrived in the form of a policy blueprint by Montana Senator Max Baucus that closely mirrors the health platform that Obama campaigned on.
It promotes a national insurance marketplace where people can buy into well defined private insurance plans at “group rates.” Private plans would then compete with a larger public pool program managed by the Government and modeled after Medicare.
The plan includes an individual mandate that everyone buy health insurance coverage, so the young and healthy would help pay the costs of the older and less healthy. Earlier this week a study by American’s Health Plans said if there was a mandate that everyone buy health insurance coverage, that health insurance carriers would likely agree to a mandate to accept all customers, without regard to pre-existing conditions.
With the Baucus plan lower income Americans would get subsidies, which may include as much as 61% of the nation’s population. Businesses that don’t cover employees would pay a new payroll tax.
Projected costs of the Baucus plan may run as high as $150 billion annually. They expect to recoup a yet unknown percentage of those costs with wellness programs and through better utilization of technology.