` Health care reform: state of play — imaginary family values

Last update on .

Every once in a while my wife asks me, “So what is in this health-care reform bill, anyway, and what good will it do us?” And I usually answer something like “a hummina hummina hummina”, because with all the negotiations and plans and bills and amendments and proposals that have been floated for the past nine months, it’s hard to keep track. Fortunately, Igor Volsky, of the Center for American Progress’s “Wonk Room” blog, has compiled a handy table showing the salient differences between the bill passed by the House, the bill passed by the Senate, and the compromise that the White House has proposed today.

The common points, briefly, are:

  • Everybody except the very lowest-income families, or people whose premiums would be more than a certain percentage of their income, must buy insurance.
  • Most employers will be pressured to provide insurance to their employees, but the exemption for small employers and the exact form of pressure varies among the bills.
  • Lower-income households would get subsidies to help them pay their premiums.
  • The subsidies are financed by some combination of an excise tax on high-premium insurance plans and a tax hike for higher-income families.
  • If you like your current coverage, you can keep it, and will receive additional consumer protections.
  • The “donut hole” in Medicare Part D will be gradually reduced or eliminated.


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