The Senate Finance Committee bill written by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) (the Baucus bill) first drives up the cost of health insurance for all Americans and then forces everyone to buy it or face tax penalties or jail time. While the Baucus bill does cap out-of-pocket costs based on a person’s income, the effect on American families is still staggering. According to the Center for Data Analysis, the Baucus bill would:
For individuals making $34,140 (three times the Federal Poverty Level) the Baucus health care proposal could mandate up to $4,097 in annual premiums, a sum which could have been spent on over nine months of food, almost four months of housing or well over a year of utilities.
For a family of four making $69,480 (300% above poverty) the Baucus bill mandates annual health insurance premiums of $8,338, which would be worth the equivalent of over ten months of food, four months of housing or almost two years of utilities.
For individuals earning $45,520(400% above poverty) Baucus mandates $5,462 for health insurance, or over a year of food, four months of rent or a year and a half of utilities.
For families earning $92,640 (400% above poverty) Baucus mandates $11,117 in health premiums, the equivalent of over a year of food, five months of housing or two years of utilities.
And those numbers include the subsidies for health insurance in the Baucus bill. To pay for all this new health care spending, plus the massive expansion of Medicaid, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Baucus bill will collect $4 billion in fines from those who do not purchase insurance, $200 billion taxing health insurance companies with generous health plans, and $25 billion in taxes on employers. Not to mention the billions in cuts to Medicare payments to hospitals which will result in significant cost shifting to consumers.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has done a study on what all these new taxes and regulations will do to Americans health insurance premiums and the results are not pretty. Instead of reducing the average family’s health insurance premiums by $2,500 per year, as President Obama promised, the Baucus bill would actually raise them by $4,000 more than they would have been without reform.
The Baucus bill spends at least $1 trillion, fails to cover all Americans, taxes employers for creating jobs, and inflicts higher out-of-pocket health care costs on all Americans. We can do better.