Administration NOT throwing in the towel?
Last month it looked like the Obama administration was giving up on a public health option. But according to this, the Obama team may not have given up on the public option after all. Incidentally, this plan also calls for, well, read it for yourself:
The plan includes some of the stiffest penalties Congress has proposed for Americans who don’t carry health insurance coverage.
Sen. Baucus emerged from a meeting with the six-member bipartisan group saying he had given his colleagues until 10 a.m. Wednesday to provide feedback on his draft. The group will meet again Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to come up with an agreement before Mr. Obama’s address.
Under the plan, people who earn between 100% and 300% of the poverty level (or between about $22,000 a year and $66,000 a year for a family of four) would face fees ranging from $750 to $1,500 a year.
For taxpayers with incomes above 300% of poverty, the penalty starts at $950 a year and reaches as high as $3,800 for families. Nearly 12 million people fit in this category, according to the National Institute for Health Care Management.
The idea behind the penalty is that those who can afford insurance but don’t buy it are imposing costs on the entire health system. Under the proposal, nearly 12 million people who currently have no insurance could be subject to such fines, according to figures compiled by the National Institute for Health Care Management.
Starting next year, the plan also calls for annual fees of $6 billion on health-insurance providers, $4 billion for medical-device makers, $2.3 billion on drug makers and $750 million on clinical laboratories. The fees would be levied on individual companies based on market share. Insurers also face an excise tax of 35% for any health plan worth more than $8,000 a year for individuals and $21,000 a year for families.
Karen Ignagni, chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry lobbying group, said the new fees would make it more difficult for health insurers to contain rising costs. “Our members are talking about that being at odds with the goal of cost containment,” she said.
Either the administration has compromising photos of hundreds of Congressmen and Senators in a desk drawer somewhere, or they are seriously misreading the political tea leaves. This sounds like the kind of thing that would give all those irate town hall meeting people from this past summer hemorrhagic strokes.