[Guest post by DRJ]
Now that passage of government health care seems possible, the AP has decided to point out some minor problems:
“It took lawmakers a year to shape President Barack Obama’s health care bill. If it finally passes Congress, it’ll take the better part of a decade to write the user manual for consumers and doctors, employers and insurance companies.
Some health insurance consumer protections would go into place immediately, significant but limited in scope. The big expansion in coverage comes in four years. More than 30 million people would sign up, with most getting tax credits to help pay premiums. Ripple effects continue well after Obama has to leave office in 2017, if he’s re-elected.
But even if the 2,700-plus-page bill passes, it’s only the end of the beginning. The Obama blueprint will be carried out under less-than-ideal circumstances. Rising medical costs and an aging population will keep squeezing the federal budget. Lawmakers will have to revisit hard choices they sidestepped.
“This is going to play out over a generation,” said Andrew Hyman, who oversees health insurance research for the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “It will address how people get coverage, how health care is delivered, and how health care is paid for.”
It’s like a really expensive health care supermarket for middle class American workers:
“Starting in 2014, self-employed people and those whose employers don’t offer coverage would be able to pick a plan through a health insurance exchange, like a supermarket. It’s modeled on the federal employee health program available to members of Congress, with a range of private plans. Small businesses could also join.
More than 30 million people would buy coverage through state exchanges, and nearly 6 in 10 would be eligible for help with their premiums. The new tax credits would be computed according to income and other household characteristics. The money would go straight to the insurer. To consumers it would look like a discount — generous for lower-income families, less so for those solidly in the middle class.
For example, a family of four making $44,000 would pay $2,763 in premiums _about 6 percent of its income_ for a policy worth $9,435.
But a similar family making $66,000 would have to pay $6,257 in premiums, close to 10 percent of its income. That may be less than a mortgage, but it’s more than a car payment.
Once the exchanges open, most Americans would be required to carry health insurance or pay a fine. Medicaid would be expanded to cover childless adults living near poverty.”
It’s the Obama campaign all over again. The media only does its job after the decision is made.