The fact is, no other Democratic plan in the Senate or House achieves the HAA’s two core objectives: both universal coverage and free choice for all - including poor people being treated the same as rich people.
For example, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the three-committee-approved House bill, H.R. 3200, is estimated to leave out about 9 million non-elderly citizens and legal residents (not counting undocumented aliens), several million of whom are among the poor who don’t know how to take advantage of Medicaid. Under the HAA, poor people can more easily be brought into the system, since they would be automatically enrolled and receive their wholly subsidized health insurance whenever they have any contact with the government, such as applying for Social Security, a driver’s license or car registration.
And no Democratic proposal offers everybody the choice of purchasing a better policy on a public exchange than they have from their employers - indeed, being able to pocket in cash the difference, if any, between what the employer was paying versus the price on the state public exchange. In short, under the current Democratic committee plans, very few people could take advantage of a purely public option even if there was one. As Mr. Wyden recently wrote:
“The problem with these [Democratic] bills, however, is that they would not make the exchanges available to all Americans. Only very small companies and those individuals who can’t get insurance outside the exchange - 25 million people - would be allowed to shop there. This would leave more than 200 million Americans with no more options, private or public, than they have today.”
Next week, I will explain how HAA also manages to be the only proposal that is immediately deficit-neutral and then, two years later, begins producing a revenue surplus.
• Lanny J. Davis, a Washington lawyer and former special counsel to President Clinton, served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. He is the author of “Scandal: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics is Destroying America.” This piece is also published at http://pundits. thehill.com.
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