reprinted from firedoglake.com
The Firedoglake health care team has been covering the debate in congress since it began last year. The health care bill will come up for a vote in the House on Sunday, and as Nancy Pelosi works to wrangle votes, we've been running a detailed whip count on where every member of Congress stands, updated throughout the day.
We've also taken a detailed look at the bill, and have come up with 18 often stated myths about this health care reform bill.
Real health care reform is the thing we've fought for from the start. It is desperately needed. But this bill falls short on many levels, and hurts many people more than it helps them.
While details are limited, there is apparently a "Plan B" alternative that the White House was considering as recently as two weeks ago, which would evidently expand existing programs -- Medicaid and SCHIP. It would cover half the people at a quarter of the price, but it would not force an unbearable financial burden to those who are already struggling to get by.
Congress may be too far down the road with this bill to change course. But before Democrats cast this vote which could turn "ban the mandate" into "gay marriage" for the GOP in 2010, they should consider the first rule of patient safety: first, do no harm.
Myth 1: This is a universal health care bill.
Fact: The bill is neither universal health care nor universal health
insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office:
- Total uninsured in 2019 with no bill: 54 million
- Total uninsured in 2019 with Senate bill: 24 million
Myth 2: Insurance companies hate this bill.
Fact: This bill is almost identical to the plan written by AHIP, the
insurance company trade association, in 2009.
The original Senate Finance Committee bill was authored by a former Wellpoint vice president. Since Congress released the first of its health care bills on October 30, 2009, health care stocks have risen 28.35%.
Myth 3: The bill will significantly bring down insurance premiums for most Americans.
Fact: The bill will not bring down premiums significantly, and certainly not the $2,500/year that President Obama promised during his campaign.
Annual premiums in 2016: status quo / with bill:
Small group market, single: $7,800 / $7,800
Small group market, family: $19,3oo / $19,200
Large Group market, single: $7,400 / $7,300
Large group market, family: $21,100 / $21,300
Individual market, single: $5,500 / $5,800
Individual market, family: $13,100 / $15,200
(The cost of premiums in the individual market goes up somewhat due to subsidies and mandates of better coverage. The CBO assumes that cost of individual policies goes down 7-10%, and that people will buy more generous policies.)
Myth 4: The bill will make health care affordable for middle class Americans.
Fact: The bill will impose a financial hardship on middle class Americans who will be forced to buy a product that they can't afford to use.
A family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income -- out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.