The Republican Healthcare Plan

The Republican Healthcare Plan November 5, 2009

I suppose the good news is that the party of nihilism actually came up with an alternative healthcare plan. But that’s it for the good news. It’s all down here from there. The CBO has scored the GOP proposal, and the results are not good. See Jon Cohn and Ezra Klein for the gory details. In a nutshell, the plan would not deal with the problem of the uninsured at all – ten years into implementation, 52 million people would be uninsured.

OK, but it saves money by insuring fewer people, right? Wrong. The Republican plan will reduce the deficit by $68 billion over the next ten years. The Democratic plan will cut the deficit by $104 billion over this period. So, let’s sum up – the Democratic bill covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion extra!

Republicans are trumpeting that premiums are lower, and that’s true – but it’s barely significant for the vast majority on employer-based insurance (0-3 percent reduction for insurance through large employers). There is no comparison to make here, as the CBO’s estimates of the impact on premiums of the Democratic plan are not done yet. But I can probably guess the direction! Another point worth noting – one of the reasons premiums fall in the Republican plan is because there will be less medical care provided, not because the cost of provision is lower. Oh, I almost forgot – Republicans would still let insurance companies penalize people (refuse or drop coverage, charge exorbitant premiums) for pre-existing conditions.

Perhaps I absolved them of the charge of nihilism too soon…


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