Some of our clients are asking what the new Health Care legislation says, and how they will be affected. These are difficult questions to answer.
The Health Care bill passed by the House of Representatives a week ago is 1,990 pages long. The House bill will have to be reconciled with a separate bill that is being considered by the Senate. Trying to read and understand such lengthy and complex legislation would severely test the abilities and patience of the most diligent person.
According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, the House bill covers 96 percent of all Americans, and it puts affordable coverage in reach for millions of uninsured and under insured families, lowering health care costs for all of us.
House Republican leader, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, says that It will raise the cost of Americans’ health insurance premiums; it will kill jobs with tax hikes and new mandates, and it will cut seniors’ Medicare benefits.
According to budget estimates, the House bill would result in new health care spending of more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Funding of the increased costs would come from a variety of sources, including a 5.4% tax surcharge on high income earners, and more than $400 billion in cost cuts from Medicare. At the same time, the bill envisions increased spending on Medicaid, and an easing of the eligibility requirements for that program.
Whether the House and the Senate will agree on a bill that is acceptable to the President, and what that bill might mean for each of us, all remains to be seen.