Friday, May 22, 2009

Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals

The Kaiser people have put up an interactive database allowing comparisons of the various health care reform proposals.
Very impressive and a little overwhelming. Hat Tip David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog

Achieving comprehensive health reform has emerged as a leading priority of the President and Congress. President Obama has outlined eight principles for health reform, seeking to address not only the 45 million people who lack health insurance, but also rising health care costs and lack of quality. In Congress, a number of comprehensive reform proposals have been announced as the debate begins over how to overhaul the health care system.

This interactive side-by-side compares the leading comprehensive reform proposals across a number of key characteristics and plan components. Included in this side-by-side are proposals for moving toward universal coverage that have been put forward by the President and Members of Congress. In an effort to capture the most important proposals, we have included those that have been formally introduced as legislation as well as those that have been offered as principles or in White Paper form. This side-by-side will be regularly updated to reflect changes in the proposals and to incorporate major new proposals as they are announced.

A seventeen-page pdf document is also available with the whole ball of wax.


Hoots said...

I printed out the whole 17 pages, then cut and taped them together in a dining-table-sized spreadsheet so I could view them all at once.

I haven't got to the main three, which will eventually be the seedbeds from which the final product will grow, but the last three are politically impossible and have value only as idea sources that might be useful to some final plan.

I didn't realize that Rep. Dingle has been introducing the same plan (or variants) every year since 1957. That's what I call not giving up! His plan is worth checking out if only to see how long a rational national health care plan has been neglected.

Yes, I realize that 3 + 3 = 6 and I didn't mention two remaining plans. Those are what I would call the insurance industry's wet dreams. One would be mandatory for all Americans over 19 and the other would be optional. Both have provisions taking care of poor people (yes, of course, tax money pipelined into the industry) and one pumps medical savings accounts -- big, juicy plumbs for the finance sector as well as insurance.

Did you ever notice how well those two parts of the economy (insurance and finance) work together? Wonder why?

Hoots said...

I haven't got to the main three, which will eventually be the seedbeds from which the final product will grow...I finally got to them. Of the three, the administration's proposals are vague enough to allow anything Congress can agree upon. The other two, the Senate plan and the Baucus plan, may not be "insurance industry wet dreams" but they come close. Because the single-payer option is apparently off the table the insurance people are guaranteed a part in anything that comes to pass.

We can be certain that they will not be part of anything failing to produce profits. And since every dime they receive will come either from taxes or premiums paid by beneficiaries, those corporate profits represent an expenditure over and above the true cost of health care.

There are two bright spots.

First, the portability issue is in all plans. Whatever comes to pass, the end result will be some kind of affordable universal access. The "affordability" part has yet to be hammered out, but it will involve some means test formula insuring that some multiple of the federal poverty rate will puzzle together with some combination of tax credit or direct subsidy for whoever needs/wants insurance. This should mean the end of "job lock," the fear that moving to a different job or to another state will not mean the loss of health insurance. This is huge.

Also, pre-existing conditions will not disqualify anyone from being able to get health insurance. Premiums may be higher, but with the "affordability" component described above that should not be as much a problem except for those in higher income levels. This is also huge.

Bopth the Senate and Baucus proposals carry an optional "public plan" which would look like Medicare for all. The insurance industry regards this part of any discussion to be a poison pill, and it will be opposed tooth and nail. I have no clue about it's chances.