On November 7, 2009 the House of Representatives passed a Health Care Reform bill with a Public Option. On December 24, 2009 the Senate passed a Health Care Reform bill Without a Public Option. So it goes back to the House to work out differences on a reconciliation bill. The adjusted legislation must again pass a House vote. Then go to the Senate for another vote of 51, called a simple majority instead of the 60 vote super majority required on the original process because it would create a new government agency. After the new bill passes through Congress again and signed by the President it becomes law. This could happen about late March 2010.
The Reconciliation bill has generous tax credits on Health insurance premiums for individuals and families with lower incomes. It phases down the Donut Hole in Medicare prescription drug program through to 2020. President Obama has stated that it will stop medical insurance companies from turning down individuals with preexisting illnesses, from buying a policy. He says that the insurance companies cannot cancel your coverage if you become sick. Also, Barrack made claims that the Caps on the dollar amount to be spent on a patients would be removed. It raises the age for children to remained covered on their parents policies to 26. Most Republicans would have no objections with these provisions.
There is a Excise tax on high-cost insurance plans referred to as "Cadillac" policies but this dose not go in effect until 2018. It has a Hospital insurance payroll tax on individuals of incomes of $200,000 and up. It also adds a new tax of 3.8% of income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, or rent. Wall Streeters might have a problem with this tax calling it a redistribution of Wealth and starting a class warfare. Their are penalties on businesses from the 31st employee and above, if they do not offer Health insurance to their work force. It includes a mandated fine on individuals of $695 or 2.5% of income by 2016 enforced by the IRS. The GOP for certain would be opposed to these provisions and of course the people receiving a fine on their income tax filings, would object.
The Public Option would be a Qualified Health Benefit Plan competing with similar private insurance plans in a internet based exchange or market place, enabling citizens and small business to purchase health insurance meeting federal minimum standard. The federal Government's health insurance plan would be financed Entirely by premiums WITHOUT subsidy from the Federal Government. It would break the monopolies of the private insurance and force them to compete in a fair market. They would have to reduce overhead, eliminate excessive administration costs and executive salaries. Premiums would have to be low and services would increase to keep policy holders, similar to what all the other businesses in America have to do.
There would be taxpayer "seed money" on the Public Option federal program but is required to pay back the Treasury over a 10 year period. A free market system competing on a open market with little cost to the taxpayers with better values on a product. Wallstreeters might not be pleased at first but would later affirm that, that's how the system works. Especially if it reduces costs for corporations. Republicans know it would work but probably will never admit to it publicly. The average citizens couldn't complain, they wouldn't have to pay for it with higher taxes or fines and receive many benefits.
Barrack Obama has said that this new bill will make health insurance more affordable to millions of Americans. It does, through subsidies and tax credits. He is keeping one of his campaign promises of not raising taxes on people of incomes below $150,000. He's taxing higher income earners and giving to lower earners access to money to be more able to afford premiums. But this does NOT mean the insurance companies will lower rates. Many on both sides of aisle believe that they will go up. For example: If rates for medical coverage were going to cost you $3.000 per year and a person gets aide of $600 it would end up costing you $2,400. If premiums go up you would need more aide to stay at $2,400 or pay more. With the Public Option's fair competition it is possible to lower the rates to $2,400 without a tax increase except for the initial money to start the program that has to be paid back.
The Democrats are in a difficult position. After a year of debating and trying to pass a Health Care Reform bill the people are getting fed up with this whole process. They have to pass this bill in it's current form or suffer political disapproval. If rates go up after the potential signing of the bill by the President, the Tea Partyers will certainly be protesting in the streets probably in bigger numbers. Conservatives will have their verbal ammunition ready saying, that they warned the public about this bill and repetitively preaching that this is just what the Democrats do best 'Tax and Spend'.
Most people realize, now even Republicans recently are saying that medical insurance industry has to be reformed. If it becomes law the Democrats are going to have to go back and revise it to have a Public Option in it, As Soon as Possible. With the Liberal party's 253 to 178 advantage in the House and 59 to 41 in the Senate this is probably their only chance to do this, to a somewhat good piece of legislation to be a Great one that would benefit all of the population rich and poor.
Anyway, nobody can predict what might happen, this Reform bill could end up turning out to be very positive. There is a Biblical saying that goes: When you run the race you run to Win not to come in second place." Like a marathon runner who leads the whole race and just before the finish line stops and celebrates and ultimately loses. If the people start to believe that this legislation is bad. Well ...You just might find many Democrats in the November 2010 Congressional general election in Second Place. They need to Cross the finish line with a Public Option...