Health Reform: What is being proposed?

Are you in favor of reform of the health care system or not? This question is difficult to answer because few people know what reforms are actually being proposed. Do not worry, the Healthcare Economist is here to help.

Currently, there are four major plans on the table:

  • Senate Finance Committee Policy Options.  The plan has an individual mandate, creates a Health Insurance Exchange for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance, gives subsidies to individuals/families with income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line (FPL), expands Medicaid and SCHIP, allows a temporary buy-in for pre-Medicare population.
  • Senate HELP Committee Affordable Health Choice Act.  The plan has an individual mandate, creates state-based American Health Benefit Gateways for individuals and small businesses, subsidies available for individuals/families with incomes up to 400% of FPL, employer “pay or play” mandate with exceptions for small employers, expands Medicaid to all individuals with incomes up to 150% FPL.
  • House Tri-Committee America’s Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009 (H.R. 3200).  The plan has an individual mandate, creastes a health insurance exchange for individuals and small employers, has cost sharing credits for families up to 400% of FPL, “pay or play” mandate, expands Medicaid to 133% FPL.
  • President Obama Principles for Health Reform.  Mr. Obama has a set of general guidelines to follow which include: reducing long term health care costs, protecting families from healthcare-related bankruptcies, guaranteed choice of doctor, investment in prevention, the ability to maintain coverage when you lose your job, end barriers to coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a side-by-side comparison of each of the four proposals. Very helpful!

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