The Senate Finance Committee just passed the outline of a health care bill. The 200 page outline is not a bill as has been reported in the press but will be cobbled together with the bill out of the Dodd committee to get a "final" bill that will go to committee. There it will be cobbled with the House bill. The House bill be be one cobbled together with the three bills that have passed House committees. Got all of that? Thus, no one has a clue as to what the final final bill will look like. One thing appears certain: no "public" option. No "trigger" that will result in a "public" option. It is also certain that universal insurance coverage will not occur. It is simply too expensive. What is more likely is something like what is bankrupting Massachusetts. As I have written before, Massachusetts mandated certain levels of coverage whether you wanted it or not. If you had a policy that provided less than the mandated coverage you were taxed $1,000. Note that when the plan was passed, there was no $1,000 tax. This was added to meet shortfalls. I find it interesting that the President says that we can pass healthcare or insurance care and it not increase costs because half of the projected costs will come from cost savings. Of course no one believes that. PriceWaterhouse scored the Senate Finance outline of a bill and found that the mandates would result in increased premiums of $4,000 per household and $1,500 for singles. You know, if Obama could really deliver $500 billion in cost savings then the administration should deliver the savings now. That would receive the bipartisan support that the president craves. However, just like Massachusetts, what ever comes out of the congress will be a cost illusion with higher costs levied down the road.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com