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Archive for Monday, October 26, 2009

Employer mandate may be cut from bill

October 26, 2009

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— Businesses would not be required to provide health insurance under legislation being readied for Senate debate, but large firms would owe significant penalties if any workers needed government subsidies to buy coverage on their own, according to Democratic officials familiar with talks on the bill.

For firms with more than 50 employees, the fee could be as high as $750 multiplied by the total size of the work force if only a few workers needed federal aid, these officials said. That is a more stringent penalty than in a bill that recently cleared the Senate Finance Committee, which said companies should face penalties on a per-employee basis.

These officials also said individuals would generally be required to purchase affordable insurance if it were available, and face penalties if they defied the requirement.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss the private negotiations involving key Senate Democrats and the White House. They also stressed that no final decisions have been made on the details of the measure, expected to reach the Senate floor in about two weeks.

In general, the bill taking shape in private talks led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is designed to answer President Barack Obama’s call to remake the nation’s health care system. It would expand coverage to millions who lack it, ban insurance industry practices such as denial of coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and slow the growth in medical spending nationally.

Like a companion measure in the House, it would create a new federally regulated marketplace, termed an exchange, where individuals and families could purchase insurance sold by private industry. Federal subsidies would be available to help those at lower incomes afford the cost.

Subsidies would also be available to smaller businesses as an incentive for them to provide insurance.

Nominally, Reid’s task is to meld bills already approved by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In reality, however, he has a virtual free hand in coming up with a measure, with a goal of amassing a 60-vote majority to overcome a threatened Republican filibuster.

Reid has told fellow senators he is strongly considering including a provision for a government-run insurance plan in the bill as a way to assure consumers have a choice and to create competition for private companies. States would be permitted to drop out under the plan.

That is a somewhat weaker version than the HELP Committee voted for, but the Finance Committee omitted any federal role in the sale of coverage in favor of nonprofit co-ops competing with private industry.

The issue is the most contentious in the effort to overhaul the nation’s health care system, and it is not known whether Reid has the 60 votes for his plan.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a leading advocate for a government-run insurance provision, said on NBC’s Meet The Press he thought the drive for 60 votes was close to success.

One critic, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said on CNN he was not enthusiastic with the proposal, but did not rule out giving Reid his vote on a key procedural vote.

“Well, I certainly am not excited about a public option where states would opt out. ... I’ll take a look at the one where states could opt in if they make the decision themselves,” he said.

Comments

KS 5 years, 2 months ago

Moral of story! Don't hire poor folks.

Randall Barnes 5 years, 2 months ago

KS,,,,,,,THEY WOULDNT BE POOR IF THEY HAD A JOB,ONE THAT PAID DECENT THAT OFFERED INSURANCE

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

It is my thinking USA employers should NOT be responsible for providing medical insurance.

The most expensive medical insurance industry in the world over the past 70 years has historically been a poor example of cost control.

Remember it is the most expensive medical insurance on the planet that will cancel YOUR coverage when the bills come rolling in OR will declare a cap on the treatment.

The most expensive insurance on the planet is not reliable.

For 2010 how many individuals or employers are ready to take on the new cost from the most expensive medical insurance in the world? Grab your wallets because the industry has been on a reckless spending OF YOUR HEALTH CARE DOLLARS binge to stop reform.

Are you ready? Got your wallet close by? 25% increase!

“In front of me I have a document from my employer that shows their cost for insurance.

Medical, Dental and Vision for the year 2010 my employer will pay $15,450. I will pay another $2860 out of my pay check. $18310 a year for insurance is ludicrous, and we wonder why so many companies are having massive layoffs. It is a real travesty that nothing is going to happen in the near future on health care insurance.”

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Following national trends, each year a larger share of the budget of the Kingston City School District (Ulster County, NY) is needed to meet health benefit costs, which have nearly tripled over the last ten years.

In 2007-2008 the Kingston City School District paid out $65.6 million in wages and $22.6 million for health benefits, including basic hospital, medical, dental and vision care and a 1.45% payroll tax for Medicare.

Under HR 676, the school district would have paid only $3.9 million for health benefits, resulting in a savings of $18.7 million for the 2007-2008 school year.

Under HR 676, the average school district employee with an annual wage of $44,700 would pay only $123/month in a new 3.3% payroll tax—eliminating co-pays and deductibles.

The savings could: • support 200 new teachers • fund major capital improvements to every school • reduce class size and provide a teaching assistant for every class

The Kingston City School District is just one of 87,850 state and local government jurisdictions in the U.S. Imagine the impact of replicating these savings over the entire country!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Smart National Health Insurance will save $350 billion annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs according to the Congressional Budget Office.

National Health Insurance does not remove competition from the actual health care industry. It will be alive and well. Profits will be based on customer service and clinic performance based on the clients experience. CHOICE returns to the clients ballpark.

Prudent reasons why National Health Insurance for All should be the choice for all in America: http://www.healthcare-now.org/ ( TRUE PUBLIC OPTION)

65% want citizen/taxpayer supported National Health Insurance plan: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/09/25/us/politics/25pollgrx.html

Never never never forget… It is the private medical insurance industry that cancels YOUR medical insurance AFTER taking YOUR MONEY for years.

Smart National Health Insurance WILL NOT cancel your coverage.

Bankruptcy due to medical bills CANNOT happen with Smart National Health Insurance.

Smart National Health Insurance = CHOICE across the board

Smart Medicare Insurance for All will not only improve our quality of life but also our wallets. Yes we would have more expendable cash for birthdays,Christmas, vacations and investments.

Smart National Health Insurance is fiscally prudent.

How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you? http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

Bill Moyers - $380 million health care dollars spent thus far to stop reform
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/10/bill_moyers_michael_winship_in.html#more

Smart National Insurance ends deductibles and co-payments.

Smart National Health Insurance = true public option http://www.healthcare-now.org/

Doctors for Single Payer http://www.pnhp.org/

Health Care In the USA http://www.dollarsandsense.org/healthcare.html

Unions for HR 676 http://unionsforsinglepayerhr676.org/union_endorsers

Organizations and Government Bodies Endorsing HR 676 http://www.pnhp.org/action/organizations_and_government_bodies_endorsing_hr_676.php

Consumer Reports On Health Care http://blogs.consumerreports.org/health/health_reform/

Godot 5 years, 2 months ago

Seems that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the President and other Democrats have created a myth about health insurance company profits. They have called the profits of health insurance companies "windfall," and "immoral," and accused them of raking in "obscene returns," while "the bodies pile up."

Facts are so incovenient to the Democrats. Fortunately, they occasionally find a way of shining through the dung heap of Democrat rhetoric.

The average profit margin of the health insurance industry last year was 2.2 per cent. The industry ranks 35th among all industries represented in the Fortune profitability, according to Fortune 500, behind such immoral stealers of wealth as Clorox, Hershey, the railroads, Tupperware and Coors and Molson beer, to name a few.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091025/D9BI4D6O1.html

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

While I agree that change is required in the area of health care, I don't trust the politicians to get it right unless it was all about their own coverage. They are going to mess around and have people worse off by doing something half way than they were before they went meddling. Some may claim that some insurance is better than none but I disagree. The copay, deductible, and typical 20 percent due from the individual or family is enough to break most budgets and it doesn't take much of a medical problem to throw many into bankruptcy. While catastrophic coverage is nice. There can be a lot of bills rack up with a family and never be close to a catastrophic condition.

Once the institutions discover there is some sort of insurance coverage the incentive to work with the patient with cost adjustments and or write offs just went out the window. They may set up payment plans but that is of little use if the patient is going to get hit with the full inflated price of the medical care.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 2 months ago

Does anybody actually believe that employer mandates, public options, and "triggers" are not the incremental steps that socialized medicine proponents are willing to accept now in order to achieve their ultimate goal of a complete government takeover of health care?

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

Godot (Anonymous) says… Seems that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the President and other Democrats have created a myth about health insurance company profits. They have called the profits of health insurance companies “windfall,” and “immoral,” and accused them of raking in “obscene returns,” while “the bodies pile up.”


Insurance company accounting practices are murky at best. If you or I tried to run a business and file taxes based on the way insurance companies do their books, we would be in debt to the Government or in jail. They can crank out percentages based on a variety of information. While the I am positive that the profits posted by insurance companies have dropped considerably since 9/11 they are hardly broke and I don't buy the whole 2 to 5 percent profit margin. Maybe that would be so if their Profit and loss statement just included income to losses paid for claims figures. The insurance companies have a real bad habit of just forgetting to factor in the premiums they receive when they want to produce a sob story.

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

I am still very amused that the right wing is so against government health care. Except for a few tax changes what has the Republican party done for them? Nothing. Have the Republican arm of Congress stopped throwing away money? No, they were right in the group voting to spend money we don't have and Congress is going to keep spending money we don't have with or without health care, even if the Republicans had control of Congress. They were doing it before when they had power and nothing has changed.

I might have a very different view of the Republicans or at least some respect for their position if they would stop running to the Socialist nipple themselves. Otherwise it is just another case of do what I say not as I do. The bottom line is if they are going to keep putting us in debt that we have to payback, we the people may as well get something out of it because they will not stop over spending.

KEITHMILES05 5 years, 2 months ago

"These officials also said individuals would generally be required to purchase affordable insurance if it were available, and face penalties if they defied the requirement."

What does this mean "generally" be required and "affordable."????????????????????????????????????

Talk about play on words. What is affordable to most is to pay NOTHING. This is the dumbest POS legislation in this form.

Also, once again............I have said this MANY times before........MEDICARE is government run and the largest health care provider in this country. You people that rant and rave the "government" will ruin health insurance need to step back and be careful what you say. We already have this "government" run insurance. What say you?

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 2 months ago

Keith,

Medicare's cost trajectory is unsustainable. It is destined for bankruptcy/insolvency.

If I'm ever given a choice to opt out of Medicare, I'm getting out. They can keep all the money I've paid in to this point. I just want out. Now.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 2 months ago

LJWorld!

shame on you! the headline on this story is completely misleading!

find an accurate headline in this text from above: For firms with more than 50 employees, the fee could be as high as $750 multiplied by the total size of the work force if only a few workers needed federal aid, these officials said. That is a more stringent penalty than in a bill that recently cleared the Senate Finance Committee, which said companies should face penalties on a per-employee basis.

---how about: "Proposal would levy fines for uninsurig employers on a draconian per employee basis?"

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says… Keith, Medicare's cost trajectory is unsustainable. It is destined for bankruptcy/insolvency. If I'm ever given a choice to opt out of Medicare, I'm getting out. They can keep all the money I've paid in to this point. I just want out. Now.


Bankruptcy/insolvency are really odd words used to describe a Government funded program. It isn't a business nor is it even a pseudo corporation like the USPS and it has no reserves other than what is put is put in from Congressional funding. Even the premiums withheld from SS payments is money from the Government since the bulk of money payed in by employers and workers gets used up in a short period of the payee's life. The only Government program that had reserves was Social Security and those 3 alleged trust funds have been empty except for Government IOUs since the mid to late !970s.

As far as opting out, you either have a great insurance plan than will cover you until death or you are so self assured that you will stay perfectly healthy until the moment you draw your last breath. I tend to think that neither is more than likely the case therefore your opt out comment must have been either youth and inexperience talking or your butt because your mouth should know better.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 2 months ago

No, headdoctor. I simply have no faith that Medicare benefits will exist once I retire. In essence, I'm payiing into a massive Ponzi scheme that benefits current recipients at the expense of we suckers who are paying in now.

I have no faith that the government will provide me with anything when I retire. Nor should you. This government-built house of cards cannot stand.

tbaker 5 years, 2 months ago

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson

headdoctor 5 years, 2 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says… No, headdoctor. I simply have no faith that Medicare benefits will exist once I retire. In essence, I'm payiing into a massive Ponzi scheme that benefits current recipients at the expense of we suckers who are paying in now. I have no faith that the government will provide me with anything when I retire. Nor should you. This government-built house of cards cannot stand


Thanks for clearing up your opt out position. Unless they make some changes though people can not opt out, at least for payment into the system. I love how they try to hide it as almost user fees based on your income when it is really nothing more than tax.

I just get very tired of money that we really don't have being thrown away at stupid causes when it could be used for a much better purpose. At some point the US Government is going to have to get it through their thick skulls that we can not keep funding corporate crime and manipulation or buy the world nor keep it running. If they were not wasting tax dollars and using their heads we would have plenty for health care, Social Security and Medicare. Personally I don't care anymore how many ones and zero's they manufacture on the computers for the National Debt. If they go by that we have already lost the land if the foreign creditors come to collect. If we tax payers are going to get bent over either way we might as well get something out of it instead of nothing. The US Government needs to either declare the National Debit a joke and move on or start living within our means. Yes, I understand our money system very well and realize my last statement was laughable but that is how I think.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 2 months ago

rando1965 (Anonymous) says…

ks,,,,,,,they wouldnt be poor if they had a job,one that paid decent that offered insurance

Such a typical right wing, conservative response. Problem is, not everyone can get a decent paying job that offers insurance. Ask someone at Wal Mart how much of their paycheck goes to insurance if they get it.

Do you happen to know where these "good jobs" are?

Just because you have a good job with good insurance doesn't mean that other people don't need insurance!

9070811 5 years, 2 months ago

Companies/ businesses providing insurance plans is probably one of the most necessary components of health care reform.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

If 3 million healthy insured dropped their policies in the next two weeks not only would they save thousands of dollars the insurance industry would faint in disbelief that this many people actually are awake and give a damn.

Sooner or later another few million would do the same. Suddenly all of america would realize the medical insurance business has been doing nothing but making tons and tons of profit by way of fear mongering.

At that point all would see that america could have insurance at a much much lower rate such as 225 a month for the best coverage in the world that includes the entire family.

Makes dollars and sense to me. More money to invest smart instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

Maybe get on with that home improvement with cash instead of borrowing from the bank.....just maybe.

Maybe go to Jamaica for a few weeks instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

tbaker 5 years, 2 months ago

Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs, and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

Thomas Jefferson

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