Health care legislation moves forward in House

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Obama is praising this plan at the same time that it breaks his promisenot to interfere with private insurance policies that people are happy with. The costs for this House proposal are not provided, but they look to be even larger than the at least $1.6 trillion estimated for the Senate Finance Committee plan. As the NY Times headline notes: “House Unveils Health Bill, Minus Key Details.”From the WSJ:

U.S. House Democrats on Friday unveiled a long-awaited health-care overhaul legislation that includes a new public health insurance plan and generous subsidies for low- and middle-income families to purchase health insurance.

Leaders of three committees discussed details of the 852-page draft bill, which includes many details on how to provide coverage to those currently uninsured but almost no details on how to pay for the expanded coverage. The panels - which include the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee - say their unified approach will spur efforts to pass the bill… .

The plan would provide subsidies on a sliding scale for families up to 400% of the poverty level, according to the outline. Under current poverty guidelines, individuals with income up to $43,000 would be eligible, and families of four with income up to $88,000 would be eligible… . .

The House proposal has huge implications for the insurance industry. Besides creating a new “public option” that would compete with private plans, it would cap out-of-pocket costs to policy-holders and prohibit insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who leads House GOP efforts on health-care issues, issued a statement strongly criticizing the bill, saying it “fails American families and small businesses.” …

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John Lott

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