New Fox News Op-ed: What does the new Baucus Health Care Bill mean?
Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will make one more attempt this week to get Republicans to join the Democrats health care reform plans. Some breathed a sigh of relief that his health care bill does not include a government-run insurance program. Those who listened to President Obama's health care address to Congress last week noted that much. But the proposed regulations will destroy private insurance, guaranteeing another debate in a couple of years to fix the disastrous shape that these regulations will leave health care in.
The most striking part of the plan is that it is partially paid for it with taxes on different health care companies. Health insurance is thus taxed at the same time Democrats are claiming they want to encourage more people getting private insurance. Democrats seem to think that taxes (or "fees" as the bill calls them) won't raise costs and thus prices for insurance. But of course it does. Yet, an anonymous source in the Senate told Politico: "If insurance companies pass this fee along to customers, they run the risk of losing out in a newly competitive environment." Unfortunately, taxes would raise prices no matter how competitive insurance markets are. Furthermore, the proposed regulations will reduce competition by driving insurance companies out of business.
Regulations would eliminate any caps on the benefits insurance companies provide. It sounds wonderful, whether your health care costs total a million or ten million dollars, insurance companies will be required to cover it. Right now people have a choice over how much coverage they want. The more they pay in premiums, the more coverage they receive. But Democrats are promising that we can get these unlimited benefits as well as tax the insurance companies and enjoy lower insurance premiums at the same time. . . .
UPDATE: A copy of the new Baucus bill released on Wednesday morning is available here.