October 13th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned the Senate Finance Committee for approving what he called a “$4,000 family health care tax on private insurance options, forcing, over time, more families onto substandard government-run health care.”
Wilson pointed to a recent report by America’s Health Insurance Plans that stated, “by 2019 the cost of single coverage is expected to increase by $1,500 more than it would under the current system and the cost of family coverage is expected to increase by $4,000 more than it would under the current system.”
The report continues, “This amounts to an additional 18 percent increase in premiums by 2019.” The report states that this average increase is a “composite of increases by market segment”: a 49 percent increase for the individual market, a 28 percent increase for employers with fewer than 50 employees, an 11 percent increase for larger employers, and a 9 percent increase for self-insured employers.
“The whole point of so-called health care ‘reform’ was to reduce the costs of health care,” said Wilson. “Now, we learn that the Baucus bill does precisely the opposite—increasing the cost of private premiums at an even faster pace than they would have.”
“Which,” Wilson added, “is the point. The idea is to push Americans off of private health options onto the government-run scheme.”
The Committee voted 14-9 in favor of the Baucus-led bill, which ALG estimates could extend to as many as 45 million at a cost of $2.1 trillion over ten years. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine was the only Republican voting in favor.
“The Senate Finance Committee has accepted the doctrine of quantity over quality—that every American must have health care, no matter how much government’s mandate that it be so reduces quality over time,” said Wilson.
Wilson pointed to the average cost per individual covered under the Baucus plan, which is $2,858. “The Baucus plan puts the basic price per individual at about $2,000 less than what it actually costs today for a health premium. Which means that the plan will provide below-average medical care to participants, millions of whom will be forced on to the plan,” Wilson explained.
Last week, Wilson blasted the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for “understating” the cost estimates of the Senate Finance Committee bill, which according to ALG estimates was $1.271 trillion off the mark.
Wilson also took issue with the amount of individuals that estimated to be covered under the Senate plan by the CBO. “The CBO estimates that a government program in which 91.5 million people under the age of 65 are technically eligible for will only result in 29 million new enrollees,” Wilson said. “That just does not pass the smell test.”
According to the CBO letter to Senator Max Baucus, taxpayers would subsidize care for those making 400 percent above the poverty level, or individuals who make $43,320 a year or less. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that includes 91.5 million people under the age of 65, or 125.8 million in total. Currently, 80.5 million now receive their health care from the government.
Wilson said that means at least 45 million will be eligible, “and eventually, will be forced on to, by government mandate, on to these government-run plans.”
According to the CBO analysis, the Senate bill will cut Medicare and Medicaid by approximately $404 billion, and include tax increases of $406 billion over ten years.
“Rather than put this bill in the trash where it belongs, the Senate Finance Committee is consigning the American people to a future of health care rationing without their own private options at a cost that will break the public treasury once and for all,” Wilson concluded.
Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at email@example.com to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.