Wednesday, October 7, 2009

CBO Score

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored the Senate Finance Committee's health reform bill. There are two sides to this: the cost and how many folks it covers.

The legislation would cost $829 billion but would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion over the 2010–2019 period.

The CBO estimated that an earlier version of the Senate Finance bill would ensure health insurance for 91% of Americans (this leaves about 25 million total uncovered). The new bill shows that by 2019 the number of nonelderly people who are uninsured would be reduced by about 29 million, leaving about 25 million nonelderly residents uninsured (about one-third of whom would be unauthorized immigrants).

Among its provisions, the bill would provide subsidies to help low-income individuals purchase health insurance through health insurance exchanges and increase Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, which is about $14,000 for an individual or $29,300 for a family of four. Excluding unauthorized immigrants, the number of Americans with health insurance would rise from 83 percent now to 94 percent over the next 10 years, according to CBO. The cost of the measure, CBO said, would be partially offset by $201 billion in revenues from an excise tax on high-premium insurance plans and $110 billion in net savings from other sources.

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