It’s official: The healthcare reform package touted by President Obama and most Democrats in Congress has passed. I have mixed emotions about this. In fact, I’m conflicted.
In the past few hours, I’ve seen just how polarized our country has become over this issue — there are arguments from every special interest group, every party, every individual voter. Now that it’s passed, though, we’re going to have to work with what we’ve got. The main point being raised by folks on both sides is the abortion issue, but I choose not to discuss it.
Suffice to say I consider my political leanings to be more middle of the road than anything else. I don’t find it interesting to talk politics with friends or family — in fact, isn’t that osmething you’re taught at an early age, not to talk about politics, money or religion in mixed company? So my politics tend to be right of center, I love to talk about money, and I’m not a fan of organized religion, even though I was raised Catholic. I suppose the most accurate terminology for me would be atheist. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for those who are religious or have religious leanings. It’s just not my bag.
The same goes for politics: It’s not my bag. Money? Now we’re talking! But that also tends to be a subject that most people won’t touch with a 10-foot pole. That’s where this blog comes in — I can talk all I want about any subject, and get feedback from my readers and other great personal finance bloggers.
There are a lot of numbers and figures in this bill, and I’m going to have to do some more research on it myself to really get a good handle on whether or not it’s good for our country. For now, here’s a breakdown of some of the numbers.
By the Numbers
Most of the actual numbers will depend on whether the “compromise package” meant to assuage Republicans passes the Senate. For simplicity’s sake, these numbers do not reflect the compromise bill.
- Total cost of the bill: $875 billion.
- The bill will supposedly cut the deficit by $118 billion.
- Insurance will be subsidized for a family of four making up to about $88,000.
- Medicaid will be expanded to provide coverage to a family of four with an income of nearly $29,000.
- How much projected Medicare spending will be reduced by: $500 billion
- Families with more than $250,000 in yearly income will pay additional Medicare taxes.
- Insurance companies that offer expensive “Cadillac” health plans will be slapped with a 40 percent tax starting in 2018.
- Individuals must buy health insurance. Those who do not face a fine of up to $750 or 2 percent of their income (whichever is higher). There is a hardship exemption for the poor.
- Companies that don’t offer coverage, and have more than 50 employees, will have to pay a fee of $750 per worker if any employees require government subsidies to buy health insurance coverage.
- Parent can keep their children on their healthcare plans until they turn 26 (up from 23).
Will it help reduce the ever-escalating costs of healthcare? That remains to be seen. Forcing Americans to have healthcare is a questionable aim, and fining large employers who don’t provide some sort of health insurance option may be counterproductive.