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February 22, 2010

Obama Unveils His Health Care Plan: More Expensive, More Controlling

Straining the idea of better late than never, Obama has finally laid out his version of health care reform. According to most reports, it's sort of the Senate bill on steroids.

The new White House's proposal would cost $950 billion over 10 years, more than the bill approved by the Senate but less than the House measure. It was posted on the White House Web site Monday morning.

The proposal increases penalties on business that fail to insure their workers and individuals who fail to get health insurance, as would be required under the new law.

The Obama plan calls for giving the federal government authority to block insurers from making premium-rate increases. A new Health Insurance Rate Authority would lay out what it viewed as reasonable rate increases, and those considered unjustified could be blocked.

Ah, price controls. What could go wrong with that?

The Obama plan also raises the threshold for what constitutes a "Cadillac Plan" and delays the tax on them for everyone, not just union members. That means lost "revenue" that is made up by, you guessed it, new taxes.

There's nothing the Republicans have proposed that already isn't in the Senate bill so no tort reform or ability to buy across state lines.

There's lots of talk about the reconciliation route being the way for Democrats to go. I still don't see it happening. The fight has always been among Democrats not with Republicans. Pelosi passed the House version by the barest of majorities (which she doesn't have right now...Murtha's seat is empty and Abercrombie of Hawaii is going to resign this week and Wexler of Florida won't be filled until April), can she shove this through?

All the old fault lines are still there. If reconciliation was the path to the land of milk and honey they could have done it quite sometime ago. There are reasons (political and procedural) they didn't, I'm not sure why those have gone away.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:21 AM

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