Friday, June 5, 2009

Costs - Can Democrats Pay for Reform?

In the June 4, The Health Care Blog, Robert Laszewski, an Inside-the-Beltway policy guru and president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates of Alexandria, Virginia, likens odds for Democratic health reform to a gas gauge – ranking chances for passage of various reform issues from an empty to a full tank. A full tank would represent Democrats raising somewhere between $1.2 trillion to $1.5trillion to pay for Obama’s hopes for reform.
Here’s how Laszewski’s gas meter reads.

Savings or Increased Revenues

• Saving $309 billion from private HMOs and elder care providers, Full tank

• Increased tax revenues from affluent, Empty tank

• $2 trillion from major stakeholders, Empty tank

• Sin Taxes from Sugar drinks and booze, Tank half full

• Limit tax exemptions from health insurance benefits ($550 billion, Tank full

• $200 billion to $300 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts, Tank Empty to ¼ full

• Public plan, Tank empty

• Individual mandate, Tank empty

Laszewski Conclusion

“Getting a health care bill will require navigating through a giant minefield - and we haven’t entered it yet."

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