– Have at it, nerds!
I haven’t had a chance to to dig into this thing but the early indicators are promising. (H/T to McJoan at Daily Kos.)
The bill comes in at $849 billion over the next ten years, and is projected to cut the budget deficit by $127 billion over 10 years and by $650 billion in the second decade; it will extend guaranteed coverage to more than 94% of Americans — including a 31 million person reduction in the uninsured. [Update: In a briefing now with leadership staff: the CBO numbers aren’t the official score, just the initial report. The full score still isn’t available.] It’s not universal coverage, but it’s what we’re getting for now. The bill contains both an excise tax on high-value insurance plans and a 1.95% increase in the Medicare payroll tax for high-income earners. It also includes a public option with a state opt-out.
One problem with the State opt-out though…
Unfortunately, the opt-out provision is an unlimited, pre-reform opt-out. This is one of the worst ways to design the opt-out. There is no restriction placed on when states can start opting out, and, presumably, this will allow states to start opting out right away. That means there will be a three four year window after the bill is passed and before the public option is first made available. That is a huge window in which Republicans and health insurance lobbyists can work to opt a state out of the public option.
Yeah, that’s a big fucking oops. And hopefully, something that can be fixed during debate. The other good news is that the Stupak anti-abortion language in the House bill hasn’t been copied. So there’s that. And I’ll have more on this after I dig into this thing.