Another Estimate Of The Kennedy Health Care Bill

Another new score of the health care bill that will feature Sen. Ted Kennedy's name concludes that it will achieve its goal of providing nearly every American with health insurance, but not without significant costs.

The report, by HSI, a private health care consultancy, was obtained by the Atlantic from a Congressional source.

HSI estimates that 99% of Americans would have health insurance if the full provisions of the bill are made law. HSI, which has done work for insurance companies and for the presidential campaign of Sen, John McCain, also estimates that, with a so-called "public plan" attached, 78 million Americans would abandon their private health insurance plan for the public plan, which would pay providers using the Medicare-rate-plus-ten percent formula.

The group used the ACROLA method to score the plan, which, I confess, I don't know much about but which seems to be reliable, if broad.

I'm going to give short notice only to the HSI score of the cost of the plan -- $4 trillion over ten years --, in part because the draft released by the HELP committee doesn't include a number of revenue-enhancing or saving measures that we know will be included. Still, HSI estimates that ending the employer-sponsored health care tax exclusion would save, at most, $300 billion over ten years. That's the normal estimate.

So how does HSI get $4 trillion?  They're assuming that the bill ultimately subsidizes premiums for Americans making up to 500% of the poverty level, and that the public plan is robust and well-utilized.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it. They are repulsed by it."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Politics

Just In