The White House released President Obama's health care plan today, three days ahead of Thursday's televised conference on reform. The provisions of the plan are fundamentally the same as the House and Senate bills:
* Individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a tax.
* Employer mandate to provide health insurance for employees or pay a tax.
* Government controlled health insurance exchange.
* Taxpayer subsidies for families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four) to purchase health insurance.
* Delay tax on high priced health insurance plans for five years (at union request).
* The "Nebraska Kickback" for all states - expand indefinitely the federal contribution for Medicaid to 90% for all states.
* Delay tax on insurance companies for four years.
* Delay tax on drug companies for one year.
* Delay tax on medical device manufacturers for three years.
* Three of the eleven pages spent on eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in government programs (all of which could be done now).
Unlike the House and Senate bills, though, the President places more federal regulation on insurance company pricing. This would lead to government price control of the insurance industry and would force many companies out of business. Obviously, as more people are forced out of private insurance, the enrollment in the government plans would skyrocket.
The group Americans for Tax Reform estimates (here) the President's plan would add an addition $629 billion in taxes over the next ten years and would bring the total cost of this proposed health reform to well over $1 trillion.
In short, the President's plan breaks no new ground in the health care debate. It greatly expands the government role in our health care, does nothing to control costs (except for the obligatory rationing that will occur), and further isolates the patient from health care spending and decision making.